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Robert Southey and Millenarianism: Documents Concerning the Prophetic Movements of the Romantic Era, Edited by Tim Fulford

The Quarterly Review. Vol. XXVIII. October, 1822, & January, 1823. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1823.

[pp. 1-46] Art. I.—Histoire des Sectes Religieuses qui depuis le Commencement du Siècle dernier jusqu’à I’Epoque actuelle, sont nées, se sunt modifiées, se sont éteintes dans les quatre parties du Monde. Par M. Grégoire, ancien Evêque de Blois, Membre de l’Institut, &c. &c. 2 tom. 8vo. Paris.

1.        THIS work is characteristic of its author. [1]  It bears ample proofs of his frankness and benevolence, as well as of his inconsistency and enormous prejudices, political and religious, of his weak judgment and warm heart. M. Gregoire was not in favour with Buonaparte, though he published some remarks upon the state of the Roman Catholics in Ireland, (the Slavery of the Whites he called it,) which were hardly exceeded in falsehood and effrontery by any diatribe from the Imperial, or Radical, or Whig press. [2]  The present volumes were seized by the police (like Madame de Stael’s ‘Germany’) and suppressed; in both cases the suppression seems to have proceeded more from personal ill-will than the apprehension of any possible injury to the imperial government from such books. They were returned to the author after the restoration of the Bourbons.

2.         A Protestant called Langius, M. Gregoire tells us, published a geographical sketch of the Empire of Orthodoxy, which, according to him, is bounded on the east by Fanaticism, and on the west by Pseudo-Orthodoxy. The empire is composed of three confederated kingdoms, called Illumination, Justification and Renovation, and the author enters into a detailed statistic account of each. The river of Orthodoxy, which runs through the three kingdoms, rises from different sources in Sinai, Thabor, and the Mount of Olives, and discharges itself into the Pacific Sea, opposite to the Island of the Blessed. This reminds us of a map of the Land of Tender, so called in the translation of Clelia, (‘an excellent new romance’ one hundred and fifty years ago,) written by the exquisite pen of Monsieur de Scudery, with the Lake of Indifference, the Sea of Enmity, and the three cities of Tender upon Inclination, Tender upon Esteem, and Tender upon Gratitude. [3]  John Bunyan should have designed maps of this kind to illustrate his Pilgrim’s Progress and his Holy War. These are devices which would explain nothing so clearly as the prejudices of the designer. But there are parts both of literary and ecclesiastical history which might be greatly elucidated by genealogical trees, [4]  and the historians of heresy, from Epiphanius [5]  downward, might have assisted themselves as well as their readers by introducing them, in the present instance, if M. Gregoire had formed one, however incorrectly, it would have suggested to him some kind of method, in which his book is now utterly defective. The different sects are arranged neither with any relation to each other, nor chronologically, nor geographically, nor even in alphabetical order, (the easiest and laziest of all modes of arrangement,) but with as little method or connection as the paragraphs in a newspaper.

3.         If the Ex-Bishop of Blois, in imitation of Langius, had constructed a map of the Land of Heterodoxy, they who are really acquainted with the ground might smile at some of the positions which would have been found there. He informs us, for instance, that the belief of the existing English church bears no resemblance whatever to that of Cranmer, Parker, and Laud; [6]  that the present dissenters, though enemies to the clergy, make common cause with them against the Catholics; that one of the great theological disputes which have recently occurred in England, related to the reform of the Athanasian creed, and that à cette discussion se rattache la controverse Blagdonienne entre le Curé de Blagdon, près de Bristol, et Miss Hannah More. [7]  With equal accuracy he designates one of the distinguished advocates of Calvinism as le poete Sir Richar Hill, Baronnet; [8]  and informs us that Mr. Wilberforce is a disciple of Methodism, and has defended its principles in his writings. [9]  M. Gregoire has fallen into these errors by writing upon subjects with which he is very imperfectly acquainted; there are others into which he has been misled by his imperfect knowledge of English. For example, he accuses Robert Robinson, the Baptist-historian, of saying that the whole life of Bossuet [10]  was nothing but a torrent of iniquity: (et dont la vie entière nest qu’un torrent d’iniquité.) Upon referring to the original the words prove to be these: ‘nothing stopped his career; he rolled on, a mighty torrent of mischief, driving all before him’. [11]  This misrepresentation of Robinson’s words has clearly arisen from misapprehending them. In another instance he appears to have followed some faithless translation: speaking of Wesley’s Primitive Physic, he quotes the following prescription as bizarre—Pour guérir une colique venteuse, prenez une femme saine, et tâtez-la tous les jours: remède éprouvé par mon père. [12]  The easy but singular substitution of tâtez la for tetez la might be ascribed to the printer, if it were not evident that M. Gregoire could not have had the original work before him; because the remedy of human milk is advised by Wesley for consumption, and not for colic. It seems to have been prescribed as commonly in former times as asses-milk is now. Baxter tells us that he used it four months, and was somewhat repaired by it; [13]  and it was the last remedy which was ordered for the merciless Alva. [14]  The account of Methodism is equally superficial and inaccurate. The author has chiefly followed Lackington, and seems not to have known that Lackington, after he was reconciled to the Methodists, published a retractation of the work which is here relied on. The letter purporting to be written by Wesley at the age of eighty-one, to a lady of twenty-three, is also given, without any doubt being implied of its authenticity. The letter is in itself so grossly incredible, that M. Gregoire ought to have seen its falsehood; and, in point of fact, it is known to be a forgery, by the avowal of the person who forged it. [16] 

4.         The sectarians of whom M. Gregoire speaks with most indulgence are the Quakers. This partiality towards them arises from the honourable manner in which they contributed to the abolition of the Slave Trade; the aid which he has contributed to the same cause being the redeeming part of his public life. This sympathy induces him to sum up the character of the society by saying, that if the title of Primitive Christians, which they claim, cannot be allowed them on the score of their belief, they have some right to it on account of their morals; and that among all Christian sects, theirs appears to be one of those which, being characterized by the greatest integrity in the conduct of the members, are at the same time a model and a reproach to others. The account which he has given of them is vague and desultory, scarcely touching upon their history, and not attempting to trace or account for the gradual but great change which they have undergone. When he describes the works at Coalbrookdale as their creation, he imputes to the spirit of Quakerism what has been produced by the spirit of trade; and when he characterizes that district as a tract où les bonnes moeurs, le travail et l’aisance ont fixé leur sejour, he shows how little he is acquainted with the state of morals and domestic comforts in manufacturing or mining countries. [17] 

5.         M. Gregoire is not more accurate in saying jamais une Quakeresse ne fut marchande de modes; [18]  for Quakers there are, both male and female, who deal in such pomps and vanities without scruple and without reprehension. Nay there are some who have traded in guns and gunpowder, so difficult is it for any sect to separate itself from the general concerns of that society wherewith it is surrounded. The spirit of the age has acted upon them with better effect in exciting a desire for intellectual improvement, and the Quakers of the present time have not only their chemists and naturalists, who hold a high rank among their contemporaries, but their poets also. If some of these betray no marks of their profession, the poems of Bernard Barton [19]  bear the decided stamp of Quakerism, and are equally honourable to the society and to the individual. Some of his pieces are written directly upon the principles of the community to which he belongs, such as the stanzas on Silent Worship, the Quaker’s Burial Ground, [20]  and the poem entitled Napoleon, in which he takes occasion, from the character of that merciless destroyer, to inculcate the opinions of the Quakers concerning the unlawfulness of war. But all his compositions breathe the same pure and religious spirit. One little piece we shall quote to justify the terms of commendation in which we have spoken of this writer, by exemplifying his merits: though written with a Quaker’s views and feeling, its beauty will be felt by Christians of every denomination.

Around Bethesda’s healing wave,
Waiting to hear the rustling wing
Which spoke the Angel nigh, who gave
Its virtue to that holy spring,
With patience, and with hope endued,
Were seen the gather’d multitude.
Among them there was one, whose eye
Had often seen the waters stirr’d;
Whose heart had often heav’d the sigh,
The bitter sigh, of hope deferr’d;
Beholding, while he suffer’d on,
The healing virtue given—and gone!
No power had he; no friendly aid
To him its timely succour brought;
But, while his coming he delay’d,
Another won the boon he sought;—
Until The Saviour’s love was shown,
Which heal’d him by a word alone!
Had they who watch’d and waited there
Been conscious who was passing by,
With what unceasing, anxious care
Would they have sought his pitying eye;
And crav’d, with fervency of soul,
His Power Divine to make them whole!
But habit and tradition sway’d
Their minds to trust to sense alone;
They only hoped the Angel’s aid ;
While in their presence stood, unknown,
A greater, mightier far than he,
With power from every pain to free.
Bethesda’s pool has lost its power !
No Angel, by his glad descent,
Dispenses that diviner dower
Which with its healing waters went.
But He, whose word surpass’d its wave,
Is still omnipotent to save.
And what that fountain once was found,
Religion’s outward forms remain—
With living virtue only crown’d
While their first freshness they retain;
Only replete with power to cure
When, Spirit-stirr’d, their source is pure!
Yet are there who this truth confess,
Who know how little forms avail;
But whose protracted helplessness
Confirms the impotent’s sad tale ;
Who, day by day, and year by year,
As emblems of his lot appear.
They hear the sounds of life and love,
Which tell the visitant is nigh;
They see the troubled waters move,
Whose touch alone might health supply;
But, weak of faith, infirm of will,
Are powerless, helpless, hopeless still!
Saviour! thy love is still the same
As when that healing word was spoke ;
Still in thine all-redeeming Name
Dwells Power to burst the strongest yoke!
O ! be that power, that love display’d,
Help those—whom Thou alone canst aid !’

pp. 182-85. [21] 

6.        The information which M. Gregoire has brought together concerning the English sects, is brief, inaccurate, and altogether unsatisfactory. What he says of the minor sectarians in Scotland is chiefly taken from Sir John Sinclair’s Statistical Account. [22]  They have been as evanescent as they were numerous. ‘Particular countries’, say the joint-historians of the Dissenters, ‘have their endemical diseases. The plague has from time immemorial ravaged Egypt; the yellow fever is the scourge of the West Indies; and goitres afflict and disfigure the inhabitants of the Alps. A malady of the soul similar to the last seems to be the curse of Scotland. An excessive zeal for little things, like an enormous wen, has with but, perhaps, one exception, disfigured every sect that has arisen in that country; and, drawing away the vital energy which should have communicated strength, weakened its spiritual powers. To ascertain the cause would be important, as it might operate as a preventive in future; but it is certainly a striking peculiarity in the Scotch character; and if it could be purged by hellebore, the whole produce of Anticyra could not be purchased at a price too high’. [23]  This is at least as applicable to the first Puritans, whom these writers eulogize so highly, as to the Scotch. The truth is, that the minor sects in Scotland have mostly originated in craziness, and left as few traces behind them as the Muggletonians in England; and that since Scotland, by the joint operation of church discipline and parochial education, was reclaimed from a state hardly less barbarous than that of Ireland at present, sectarianism has not prospered there. Neither Quakers, nor Moravians, nor Methodists have met with any success in Scotland. The church has been too efficient to leave room for interlopers, and the soil suffers no weeds but its own. The few schisms of modern growth have related to points of church government, and originated in that sort of temper which is provoked by an election or a lawsuit. Fanaticism in that country has spent itself, and the deadlier venom of infidelity is now at work.

7.         Concerning the Dunkers, the Shakers, the followers of the all friend Jemima, [25]  and other wild sects in America, M. Gregoire communicates nothing but what is well known in England from books of travels, and the common sketches, or dictionaries, of religious opinions, which are in every person’s hand. He tells us indeed of an Irishman who, under the inexplicable name of Shady Hand, preached at Boston, and held all his meetings at night, without candles, because, he said, he was the light, and all other light was useless where he was present. Such a preacher, whether knave or madman, or both, was soon silenced, by the proper interference of the magistrates. He has not noticed the dancing Quakers, who reject marriage, [26]  nor has he mentioned the new religious exercise of jerking. The Jerks are not confined to a peculiar sect, or order, like spinning, quaking, and jumping. They are described by an eye-witness who believes that they are permitted by the Almighty as a means for awakening and convincing the unconverted.

8.         ‘I had heard’, says Lorenzo Dow, ‘of the jerks, or jerking exercise, which appeared first near Knoxville, in August, 1804, to the great alarm of the people. As I doubted the reports, I set out to see for myself. In February, 1805, I preached in Knoxville to hundreds more than could get into the Court-House, the Governor being present; about 150 appeared to have the jerking exercise. I thence rode eighteen miles to hold a night-meeting, and had about twenty Quakers among my hearers; but their usual stillness was interrupted, for about a dozen of them had the jerks, as powerful as I had seen, even to making them grunt. I have seen all denominations of religion exercised with the jerks; gentleman and lady, black and white, young and old, without exception. I passed a meeting-house, where I observed the undergrowth had been cut away for a camp-meeting, and from fifty to an hundred saplins were left, breast-high, on purpose for the people who were jerked to hold by. I observed where they had held on, they had kicked up the earth, as a horse stamping does. A Presbyterian minister told me, that while he was preaching the day before, some had the jerks, and a young man from North Carolina attempted to mimic them, and was soon seized with them; being ashamed, he attempted to ‘mount his horse and be off; but his foot jerked so that he could not put it into the stirrup; and when he was helped on, he could not sit alone’. [27] 

9.         The author of a sensible book (printed in America) called ‘Methodist Errors, or Friendly Christian Advice to those Methodists who indulge in extravagant emotions and bodily exercise’, after quoting the foregoing passage from the journal of a fellow preacher, asks if this jerking is not ‘ascribable solely to the influence of that same Evil Spirit, who loves to be present in every revival to disparage the work of God?’ [28]  It is perfectly explicable without any diabolical intervention. The same cause which always renders yawning contagious, laughing frequently so, and stuttering sometimes, would produce imitation of this, or any other convulsive movement, when it was once begun, especially when any enthusiastic notion was attached to it, and the imagination prepared to expect it, and to partake its influence.

10.         It is curious to observe how that peculiar disease which religious enthusiasm produces varies its type, and becomes endemic in whatever form it happens first to break out. Among the early Quakers it brought on that tremulous agitation from which their popular designation was given them. Among the early Methodists it manifested itself in convulsions. The Welch enthusiasts jump; and when the American ones began to jerk, the falling epidemic, which before had been the prevailing influenza among them, seems to have been suspended. Falling was one of the circumstances which usually characterized the Camp Meetings. These remarkable assemblies, which some madmen, in opposition to the regular body of Methodists, are endeavouring to introduce here arose in America as much from convenience, or indeed necessity, as from inclination. When persons from all parts, far and near, were invited to a preaching and a Sacrament in some central part of a wild and thinly-peopled country, they collected in numbers too large to be accommodated by any such neighbourhood as the woods could afford. It is said that hospitality was not wanting, but that, on the contrary, all that brotherly kindness could do was done, public and private houses being opened, and free invitations given to all who chose to enter. This, however, could not suffice when from ten to twenty thousand persons were collected, and moreover the people, we are told, ‘were unwilling to suffer any interruption in their devotions; they formed an attachment to the place where they were continually seeing so many careless sinners receiving their first impressions, and so many deists constrained to call on the formerly despised name of Jesus. They conceived a sentiment like what Jacob felt in Bethel—Surely the Lord is in this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven’. [29]  There is a description in Ovid not inapplicable to such a meeting.

‘Plebs venit, ac virides passim disjecta per herbas
Potat, et accumbit cum pare quisque sua.
Sub Jove pars durat; pauci tentoria ponunt;
Sunt quibus e ramo frondea facta casa est.
Pars ibi pro rigidis calamos statuere columnis,
Desuper extentas imposuere togas. [30] 

11.        The waggons are wanting in this picture, some hundreds of which are sometimes brought together at a Camp Meeting, whole families coming from a distance of 80 or 100 miles, sleeping in them, and bringing their provisions. Tents, waggons, carts, carriages of all kinds, and horses, are drawn up in a circle or square, or arranged more irregularly and with more picturesque effect, according to the nature of the ground, and the humour of the parties. Pulpits are erected, and the preaching goes on day and night for three or four days, more than an hundred preachers being sometimes collected. ‘To give you a more just conception of this work’, says one of the actors in such scenes, ‘suppose the Camp illuminated with candles on the trees, waggons, and at the tents; persons falling down and carried out of the crowd by those next them, and taken to some convenient place where prayer is made for them, and some psalm or hymn, suitable to the occasion, sung. If they speak, what they say is attended to, being very solemn and affecting; many are struck under such exhortations. But if they do not recover soon, praying and singing are continued alternately, and sometimes a minister exhorts over them; for generally a large group of people collect and stand around, paying attention to prayer, and joining in singing. Now suppose twenty of these groups; a minister engaged in preaching to a large congregation in the middle, some mourning, some rejoicing, and great solemnity in every countenance, and you will form some imperfect idea of this extraordinary work. Opposers call this confusion! But in any of these parties employment for the mind may be found. The work being engaging, persons subsist with less sleep and food than at other times’. [31] 

12.        The symptoms are thus described. Persons of all ages, (children of eight years old!) of all colours, conditions and denominations, by scores and hundreds (at some meetings more than a thousand cases have occurred) fall to the ground. Some feel the crisis approaching, ‘their hearts swell, their nerves relax, and in an instant they become motionless and speechless, but generally retain their senses. It comes upon others like an electric shock, felt in the great arteries of the arms or thighs; the body relaxes and falls motionless; the hands and feet become cold; and yet the pulse is as formerly, though sometimes rather slower. Some grow weak, so as not to be able to stand, but do not lose their speech altogether. They continue in that state from one hour to twenty-four. When they regain their speech, which comes to them gradually, they express themselves commonly in the following manner—that they are great sinners, the vilest of the vile; and pray earnestly for mercy through Christ. Some think that there is mercy for all but them; that salvation through Christ is a wonderful salvation, but will not be applied to them. They often continue in this state several days. Many have not yet recovered, so that it is not certain that they will. Others recover in an hour, and speak of possessing salvation from sin. They have great gifts in prayer and exhortation, which they often perform in an incredible manner. Indeed it is a miracle that a wicked and thoughtless sinner, who never could address himself to an audience before, should rise out of one of these fits, and continue for the space of two hours recommending Christ as a Saviour, free, willing, and all sufficient’.

13.        Another writer, who saw more than three hundred persons under the influence of this disease, describes it in some respects differently. ‘Persons who fall’, he says, ‘are generally such as had manifested symptoms of the deepest impressions for some time before. It is common to see them shed tears plentifully for about an hour. Immediately before they become totally powerless they are seized with a general tremor; and sometimes, though not often, they utter one or two piercing shrieks in the moment of falling. Persons in this situation are affected in different degrees: sometimes, when unable to stand or sit, they have the use of their hands, and can converse with perfect composure. In other cases they are unable to speak, the pulse becomes weak, and they draw a difficult breath, about once in a minute. In some instances their extremities become cold, and pulsation, breathing, and all the signs of life forsake them for nearly an hour. Persons who have been in this situation have uniformly declared that they felt no bodily pain; that they had the entire use of their reason and reflection; and when recovered they could relate every thing which had been said and done near them. From this it appears that their falling is neither common fainting, nor a nervous affection. Indeed this strange phenomenon appears to have taken every possible turn to baffle the conjectures of those who are not willing to consider it as a supernatural work. Persons have sometimes fallen on their way to public worship, and sometimes after they had arrived at home; and in some cases when they were pursuing their common business on their farms, or when retired for secret devotion. It was above observed that persons generally are seriously affected for some time previous to their falling: in many cases, however, it is otherwise. Numbers of thoughtless sinners have fallen as suddenly as if struck with lightning. Many professed infidels, and other vicious characters, have been arrested in this way; and sometimes at the moment when they were uttering blasphemies against this work’. [33] 

14.         The question is worth considering, why no effects of this kind were produced during the great crisis of the Reformation, not even in the Low Countries, where such multitudes were assembled in the open field that many preachers were employed at the same time in addressing them, as at these Camp Meetings. The cause will probably appear to be, that, though the minds of the congregation were in a more inflamed state, the object of the preacher was different; it was rather to affect them as a party than as individuals. He addressed himself not so much to their feelings as to their reason; not so much concerning their own sins as concerning the superstitions of their country. He made them perfectly contented with themselves as an enlightened and reformed people, the saints and the champions of the Lord, impatient to act in his cause, and ready to suffer for it, if they were called upon to bear testimony in prison or at the stake: and he worked up their indignation to the highest pitch against the gross and palpable abuses of a fraudulent and inhuman church. The passions which he excited had therefore an outward direction, and broke out in those acts of enormity and riot which in many places made the Romanists appear to have the better cause: so seriously may the best be injured by imprudent and intemperate supporters.

15.         A more interesting part of M. Gregoire’s work relates to certain sects upon the continent, whose adventures and even names have escaped the notice of our English heresiographers. He tells a singular tale of some Pietists from Denmark and the neighbouring countries, who, in the year 1734, resolved to fly from the contagious wickedness of the world, and for that purpose, embarking upon the Baltic, sailed towards the North in quest of some island, where, as in a Goshen of their own, they might be safe. They cruised in search of Paradise in a wrong latitude; and being bad sailors and soon sick of the dangers of the sea, were glad to land upon a small island near Stockholm, where they were permitted to settle, and where their descendants still subsist under the name of Skevi-kare, an appellation given them from a domain which they purchased. [34]  Religious zeal not unfrequently took this unexceptionable course in former times, seeking the free enjoyment of its own opinions abroad, when that liberty was denied at home. But these adventures were almost always ill-conducted; and, except in New-England, they seem uniformly to have failed.

16.         The Hattemistes [35]  and Verschoristes, [36]  M. Gregoire tells us, are extinct. They existed in Holland, where, he says, they proved the truth of the saying, that if the Devil were to open a school in that country, he would find disciples. They are accused of having taught that all sins are imaginary; and that if there be a real sin, it consists in believing that any thing is sinful. How easily are the grossest calumnies founded upon mistakes or misrepresentations, and how readily are they credited by uncharitable minds! The very people who are thus calumniated held as a maxim, that God punishes men not for their sins, but by them. They seem, in fact, to have been pious Fatalists, who advanced dangerous subtleties, but lived innocently, and deduced from erroneous premises the useful conclusion, that in all things it is our duty to submit with willing resignation to the divine pleasure, and that our chief aim should be to preserve the soul in tranquillity. They were called Hebrews also, because the Verschoristes held that the study of that language was necessary for all Christians. It is curious that most of the persons who held this notion, and applied themselves in consequence to the study of Hebrew, were women.

17.         The Rhinsburghers, or Collegians, [37]  who sprang up in the same country, are also extinct. They seem to have resembled that sect of ‘Freethinking Christians’ which has separated from the church for the mere sake of separation, holding all its doctrines, but rejecting all discipline. No other profession was required from the members than a belief that Christ is the Messiah, and that the Scriptures are inspired. They allowed of no priests; any member (women alone excepted) might preach and expound in their meetings, which were held in what they called Colleges of Piety. At one time they had formed eighteen of these in different towns. Some of them, from the large license which was given, ran into enthusiasm, and delivered their own dreams as revelations: but the sect had no principle of cohesion, and its members gradually dropt off, some, who wisely felt ‘the weight of too much liberty’, joining better regulated communities, and others borne away like chaff upon the stream of infidelity. The Society, or Genoot-schap Christo-Sacrum, which was founded at Delft by an old burgomaster of that town, in the first year of the present century, resembled these Collegians in the terms of admission; its object, however, was very different, being the ambitious one of uniting Christians of all opinions in one catholic society. From four members, with which it began, it increased to three thousand in the single town of Delft, where they had a handsome church, and published certain works in furtherance of their views. [38] 

18.         The ex-bishop has not included among the Dutch varieties the inhabitants of Broek near Amsterdam, which Mr. Forbes (the author of the Oriental Memoirs) describes as the most singular and whimsical place he ever beheld. When he visited Holland, during the peace of Amiens, they formed a society of their own, consisting of about a thousand persons, who had the whole village to themselves. The streets are not broad enough to admit any carriage, and are paved with pale bricks, which are kept as clean as the floor of a drawing-room. The houses, about three hundred in number, are entirely insulated, each standing in the centre of a little garden, laid out in the Dutch fashion. Each has two doors, and the front one is never opened but for the marriage or the funeral of its owner. When a stranger is seen in the village, the window-shutters are immediately closed, and the inmates retire to the back rooms, so that not a human face is seen there, nor a sound heard; ‘in broad day-light’, says Mr. Forbes, ‘all was still and solitary as night’. Of course they intermarry among each other; and if a stranger wins the affections of one of the damsels, he can only obtain her fortune by consenting to settle in the place and conforming to its regulations. Many of them are wealthy, and all charitable. The traveller has not given any information concerning the rise of this singular society, nor of their tenets, excepting that they suppose this kind of retirement to be conformable to primitive Christianity. They carry the punctilios of cleanliness even beyond their countrymen; no person is allowed to spit in the streets. One of their pastors, perceiving that after having held the cure a long time he could not obtain the good-will of his parishioners, and not being conscious of any error or deficiency in himself, ventured at length to inquire the reason of their apparent dislike to him. After some hesitation, the old gentleman to whom he addressed himself, replied, Mynheer, you are a learned man; you speak Greek and Latin; but you go into the reading-desk with your shoes on, and your predecessor always used slippers for that purpose, which you will find in a corner of the vestry. [40] 

19.         A branch of the Mennonites exists in Alsace, descended from those who were banished from Switzerland and from Strasbourg, in the sixteenth century, when these inoffensive sectarians paid dearly for the crimes of the Anabaptists at Munster, though no person testified against them more zealously than Menno himself. M. Gregoire estimates them at about a thousand souls, and with an equitable spirit, the more to be admired in so bigoted a Romanist, renders justice to their peaceable, industrious, and virtuous deportment. They reside mostly in the department of Les Vosges, at Salm, formerly the chief place of a petty principality so called. A hamlet of that name is exclusively inhabited by them. They are almost all employed in agriculture, and particularly excel in the management of cattle and in making cheese. Their dress is as peculiar as that of the quakers, and more picturesque,—they use neither buckles nor buttons, and let the beard grow. Maidens wear the hair loose, and the punishment for incontinence is to have it shorn, and publicly to ask pardon for the scandal which has thus been brought upon the church. Married women gather up the hair and bind it round the head. Like the Quakers, they scruple at taking an oath, and hold it unlawful to bear arms. The National Convention, in 1793, threatened to force them into the military service; they proposed as a compromise to furnish a certain number of carts; their proposal was referred to a committee, and to the credit of that atrocious assembly, in its worst days, it was accepted. Afterwards, when the conscription was enforced, M. Gregoire says, some of their conscripts chose to serve rather than find substitutes. The choice probably lay not between service and substitution, but between obedience to this grievous law and the punishment denounced against those who refused to obey it; they were too poor to provide substitutes during the enormous consumption of men under Buonaparte’s tyranny.

20.         They have no churches, or meeting-houses, because of their small numbers and their poverty; and it is rarely that they have a settled place of meeting. The minister usually collects his flock (if we rightly understand M. Gregoire) in the open air, when they pray kneeling, and sing psalms, and the preacher expounds the Bible, and more especially the Apocalypse, the favourite book of all persecuted and obscure sects. They pray thrice in the day, and abstain from meat at Easter, Whitsuntide, and on St. Bartholomew’s day. With regard to baptism they hold a middle course, and baptize youth at the age of eleven or twelve, by sprinkling, the person thus admitted into the church, laying his hand upon his breast and answering for himself, which they conceive essential to the sacrament. They seldom marry out of their own community; they avoid law-suits, take care of their own poor, and if one of their brethren meet with misfortunes which are not occasioned by any misconduct of his own, they set him up again in the world. During the course of the Revolution they neither suffered nor profited by it. And it is a proof of their integrity and honourable feelings, that they never availed themselves of the laws to pay in assignats debts contracted upon the old standard of money, nor ever purchased any of the property of the emigrants. We have antiquarian travellers, picturesque travellers, political travellers, poetical travellers, sentimental travellers, bibliographical travellers, and travellers for the Bible Society; a traveller who should make it his object to search out the varieties of society would do well to visit the Mennonites, or Anabaptists, as they are improperly called, of the Vosges. [41] 

21.         This little community derives its origin from the first age of the Reformation. No sect has arisen among the French Protestants since the commencement of the last century, with which M. Gregoire begins his work. He has indeed included the Camisards, of whom he gives a most unsatisfactory account, and a most prejudiced one, accusing William III. and the refugee ministers at Geneva of producing and fomenting for political purposes that madness, into which the Protestants of the Cevennes were driven by one of the most remorseless and wicked persecutions that history has recorded. [42]  These he has included because of their descendants the French prophets, whose vagaries excited much notice in London about an hundred years ago. [43]  Louis. XIV. did not leave Protestants enough in France to produce sects; but yet it will presently be shown how little the dominant religion was able to secure and maintain that uniformity which by such nefarious means it endeavoured to establish. Germany, however, affords M. Gregoire a plentiful crop of tares during the period which his history illustrates; and it is not without triumph that a writer, who regards Luther as a minister of evil, comments upon the spawn of heresies with which that country is overrun. Some of these partake of that extravagance which manifests itself in so many ways among the Germans. The Gichtelians, or Angelic-brethren, professed to live like the Angels, who are neither married nor given in marriage; they abstained from all labour, and imagined that by devoting themselves wholly to contemplation, and thus, as it were, offering themselves a sacrifice for others, they renewed the priesthood of Melchisedeck, and entitled themselves to the appellation which they had chosen. [44]  Such a sect was not likely to maintain itself long. Elias Eller, [45]  who called himself the Father of Sion, and his wife the Mother, pretended that the Almighty dwelt in him, and had commissioned him to found a new church. Such is the credulity of mankind, that no quack can be too ignorant to obtain followers, no political charlatan too base or too infamous, no religious enthusiast too insane. Eller is said to have been more knave than madman. He attracted a number of dupes to Ronsdorf, a town then newly built in the duchy of Berg; they erected their houses in a position where each looked to the dwelling of their prophet and teacher, as the kebla of their devotions; and he maintained an absolute dominion over them as long as he lived, by making himself master of all their secrets, for which purpose he employed some as spies upon others, and promoted convivial meetings, less, M. Gregoire thinks, from any love of debauchery, than because he kept his own head cool while the wine opened the hearts of his credulous believers. The sect died with him.

22.         Two brothers, by name Rohler, natives of the village of Brugglen, in the canton of Berne, set themselves up, in the year 1746, as the Two Witnesses mentioned in the Revelations, and designated a girl of their acquaintance as the woman who was to be clothed with the sun, and have the moon under her feet. Christ, they affirmed, was to come and judge the world in the year 1748, after which the kingdom of Heaven would commence in their village. If we call to mind what numbers, upon the faith of a similar prediction, hurried out of London a few years afterwards, we shall be the less disposed to wonder that these madmen produced a great effect among the Bernese peasants; men and women forsook their usual occupations, for what availed to spin, or to till the fields, if the day of judgment was so near at hand? One of the brothers was mad enough to declare he would ascend bodily into Heaven, in the sight of the people: it is said so many clung to him for the purpose of partaking in his ascension, that they furnished him with a fair pretext for adjourning this proof of his divine mission. This sort of madness led, as it has often done, to the indulgence of the most open sensuality. The Bernese government thought it necessary to interfere; and put an end to the delusion by putting the two brothers to death, five years after doomsday ought to have occurred, upon their computation. Confinement and bread and water in the first instance would have cut the madness short, and prevented the mischief of its contagion.

23.         A German gamekeeper, Hans Rosenfeld by name, played a more daring and atrocious part in Prussia and some of the adjoining states. He declared himself the Messiah; affirmed that Christianity was a mere deception, and all its priests impostors; that the King of Prussia was the devil, and that he himself was to collect the four-and-twenty elders, wrest the sword from this infernal sovereign, and, at the head of that council of twenty-four, govern the world. The seven seals also were to be opened, and as there were no angels to open them, this impudent impostor required his dupes to furnish him with seven beautiful girls, who were to act in their stead, and who, till the time should come, served him as mistresses, and supported him by the work of their hands. To the disgrace of the government under which he lived, this fellow continued this life during twenty years, with no other interruption than that of a short imprisonment now and then; and, such is the credulity of mankind, he found believers. At length he was brought to justice in a manner not less remarkable than the imposture itself. A man who was completely infatuated by his promises, and had actually given up three of his daughters to the villain’s pleasure, became at last, not undeceived concerning him, but out of patience that he was not put in possession of some of the good things which he expected when Rosenfeld should take possession of the government of the world; and in this humour he went to the King of Prussia, whom he believed to be the devil, in the hope of provoking him so to act against the false Messiah as might force him to fulfill his predictions. Frederic on this occasion behaved well; he ordered proceedings to be instituted against Rosenfeld, and the impostor was sentenced to be whipt, and imprisoned for life in the fortress of Spandau; the fellow appealed to a higher tribunal, and the sentence was mitigated; not satisfied with this, a further appeal was made to the king, apparently in the hope that he might be inclined to favour the criminal for the blasphemy of his offence; but Frederic properly confirmed the original judgment in its full rigour.

24.         This was in the year 1782. In the same year a curious sect was discovered in Bohemia, where it had perhaps long existed in obscurity. They called themselves Abrahamites, professing to be of Abraham’s religion, and rejecting all later revelations, except that they admitted the Decalogue and the Pater Noster. Many thousand peasants were found to be infected with this species of Deism; they were perfectly satisfied with themselves; held that human learning was unnecessary; and in their pretensions to inspiration, their language resembled the most exceptionable assertions of the primitive Quakers. As soon as they were discovered, the clergy began to proceed against them, and they on their part petitioned the Emperor Joseph to protect them. He promised them liberty of conscience, but on further consideration informed them that such as did not chuse to profess one of the religions tolerated in the empire by a certain day in the ensuing spring, must be exiled from Bohemia: and accordingly some were marched under a military escort into Transylvania, others into the Beunat of Temeswar. They are said to be a branch of the Adamites, who still exist in the circles of Bidschow, Chrudem, and Iglau. [47] 

25.         Bengel, [48]  though in other respects a judicious theologian, had fixed the end of the world for the year 1836—a more convenient date for himself, who lived in the middle of the last century, than for us. At the beginning of the present, a crazy pastor in Swabia took up Bengel’s notion, and proclaiming that the kingdom of the Messiah was at hand, invited all true believers to prepare for a journey to Jerusalem, there to enjoy the terrestrial paradise which was promised for their reward. Ships, carriages and camels, he assured them, would be miraculously provided for the means of transport. It is supposed that the numerous emigrations from Wurtemburg into Poland, which took place at that time, were in great measure occasioned by this man’s publications and preaching, the persons who emigrated thinking it would be desirable to get so far on their way. But this madness, like the similar one of Richard Brothers, in England, was quieted by silencing the prophet. The mischief of this insane persuasion was that it seduced from the ordinary duties of life persons who would otherwise have gone on usefully and steadily in their proper course. The Wurtemberg Separatists [49]  were less innoxious and not more sane. One branch of these has obtained the name of Gallopers, because they affect to go galloping to Heaven, like the Jumpers in Wales. They themselves give their leader, and the preachers who have espoused his opinions, the appellation of Saints—a word of dangerous import to those who know how it has always been misapplied in the language of fanaticism. According to their absurd and perilous belief, it would follow that they themselves might claim the same spiritual nobility; for they have struck out all confession of sin from their form of worship, maintaining that sin is abolished, and salvation assured, by baptism; and that what the flesh may afterwards commit communicates no taint to the spirit. When ignorant and infatuated persons professing such opinions assembled tumultuously in the fields, and held midnight meetings, it was time for any government which understood its interest and its duties to interfere; and accordingly we are told that the founder of this boisterous sect was suspended from his functions.

26.         These Separatists resemble the Ranters [50]  of Cromwell’s age. There is another branch, who combine a little of the Quaker with much of the Radical character. Like the Quakers, they thee and thou those whom they address, and refuse to uncover the head. One of them, having to appear before a court of justice, and knowing that his hat would not be allowed to remain in its place, went with six caps in his pocket, which he produced and put on, one after another, as fast as they were taken off. They reject baptism and public instruction, and bury their dead without any ceremony, merely digging a hole and covering up the corpse, as if it were a dead animal. Like the Radicals, they profess themselves hostile to all civil and religious establishments, and boast of being superior to those prejudices by which priests and magistrates have hitherto deceived the world. They call themselves patriots in Christ; and, in perversion, if not in derision of the Gospel, say that the liberty and equality which they desire are what Christ has obtained for them. They had also instituted among themselves an order, having a star for its insignia, and they styled themselves Knights of Napoleon— the second and true Messiah! The statement from which M. Gregoire has presented this account was written in 1809, when Buonaparte was in the height of his power; but even then this blasphemous adulation of the tyrant did not prevent the government from taking measures to repress a sect, the growth of which was incompatible with the peace of society.

27.         Extravagancies like these have sprung up in all ages, and will continue to spring as long as folly and madness are contagious. M. Gregoire discovers a cause for them in the growth and constitution of Protestantism, and exults, as Bossuet did before him, in the variations of the Protestant churches. [51]  The evils of our schisms, indeed, and the advantage which they afforded to the Romanists, were strongly felt and strikingly expressed by Sir Edward Deering, one of the most eloquent and unhappy men that ever drew on their own destruction, by promoting, as reformers, the purposes of a revolutionary faction. Having laboured more than any other individual in the Long Parliament to loosen the fabric of our church establishment, he soon perceived ‘such an all-daring liberty, such a lewd licentiousness, for all mens’ venting their several senses (senseless senses) in matter of religion, as never was in any age, in any nation, until this parliament met together’. ‘If I would deal with a Papist’, said he, ‘to reduce him, he answers—(I have been answered so already)—to what religion would you persuade me? What is the religion you profess? Your thirty-nine articles, they are contested against. Your public solemn Liturgy, that is detested; and which is more than both these, the three essential, proper, and only marks of a true church, they are protested against. What religion would you persuade me to? Where may I find, and know, and see the religion you profess?—I beseech you, sir, help me to an answer to the Papist.—Nay, sir, the Papist herein hath assistance even among ourselves, and doth get the tongue of some men whose hearts are far from him; for at one of your committees I heard it publicly asserted by one of the committee, that some of our articles do contain some things contrary to Holy Scripture.—Some say it is lawful to kneel at receiving the elements of our Holy Communion; others plead it as expedient; some do press it as necessary; and there want not others who abhor it as idolatrous. And, sir, I am confident you cannot so state this easy question to pass among us, but that there will be many contradicentes.—Our Creed, the Holy Apostles Creed, is now disputed, denied, inverted, and exploded, by some who would be thought the best Christians among us. I started with wonder, and with anger, to hear a bold mechanic tell me that my creed is not my creed. He wondered at my wonder, and said, I hope your worship is too wise to believe that which you call your creed. O Deus bone, in quae tempora reservasti nos! Thus, ἑνὸς ἀτόπου δοθέντος τἆλλα συμβαίνει . [52]  One absurdity leads in a thousand; and when you are down the hill of error there is no bottom but in Hell, and that is bottomless too!’ [53] 

28.         M. Gregoire is so imperfectly acquainted with the state of the Church of England, that he supposes it to be completely changed from what the founders of that church under Edward VI. and Elizabeth made it. ‘The existing Protestants’, he says, ‘scarcely resemble in any thing those of the sixteenth century; for identity of name does not imply conformity of doctrine. If Luther and Calvin were to return upon earth, they would be greatly surprized at finding themselves not of the religion of those who have taken their denominations from them’.—Not so much surprized as St. Peter would be at the claims and actions of his successors! The ex-bishop’s chapter upon the recent state of Protestantism is exceedingly curious for its strange mixture of Romish bigotry, Revolutionary liberalism, and personal benevolence. The care with which he has collected insignificant facts, and the mistakes into which he falls concerning important ones, are alike remarkable. The bloody laws against the Catholics, he says, are indeed fallen into disuse; but they are not yet repealed, and the English preserve in their Liturgy the festival of the fifth of November, commémorative de la conjuration papiste, quoiqu’ils sachent qu’elle est fantastique. [54]  If by la conjuration papiste M. Gregoire means, as he seems to mean, the popish plot, it is a proof of his extreme inaccuracy; if he means the gunpowder treason, he is not less inaccurate in treating that conspiracy as fantastic. [55] 

29.         Mr. Teacher, preaching an annual sermon upon the errors of popery, at Cambridge in New England, instanced, among the miracles by which the Romish church supports its claims to infallibility, St. Antonio preaching to the fishes, St. Patrick heating an oven with snow, and St. Dominic forcing the devil to hold a candle to him till it burnt his fingers. ‘On demandera sans doute’, says M. Gregoire, ‘si ce discours a été lu dans un hôpital de foux par un homme qui l’était lui-même. Est-ce mauvaise foi? elle serait bien atroce. Est-ce stupidité? elle serait trop grossière. Il veut bien croire cependant qu’il y a chez nous des hommes pourvus de droiture et de talens. Remercions Teacher de la grace qu’il nous fait, et livrons au mépris l’auteur et ses inepties’. [56] 

30.         The Ex-Bishop of Blois thought, no doubt, that he had pulverized Mr. Teacher by this summary process;—for the Protestant writers are as constantly pulvérisés in M. Gregoire’s book, as the British troops are culbutés throughout every memoir of the Peninsular war which the French have published. It is very easy thus to cry victory at safe distance, and very possible by so doing to impose upon the ignorant, who are willing and desirous to be deceived. But let us look into the facts. M. Gregoire’s accuracy is not always so unimpeachable as to intitle him to implicit credit upon his own statement. We have not seen the American sermon, and therefore cannot say in what manner the preacher has adduced the miracles in question; but we know how they may be adduced. We know that the Romish church pretends to infallibility, and appeals to a constant succession of miracles in support of that pretension. M. Gregoire may repeat with becoming scorn the three stories which Mr. Teacher has brought forward as specimens of those miracles; but M. Gregoire ought to know that these identical stories, gross and palpable falsehoods as they are, have been published as truths, with the sanction of censors of the press, heads of religious orders, bishops, and inquisitors; they are among the miracles to which his church appeals; and they remain, and for ever will remain, irrefragable proofs of a system of imposture deliberately carried on.

31.         We have before us the Life of the Glorious Bishop St. Patrick, Apostle and Primate of Ireland, together with the Lives of the Holy Virgin St. Bridgit, and of the Glorious Abbot St. Columbe, Patrons of Ireland, printed in 1625 at St. Omers, with the license and approbation of the Censors of Louvaine, of the Bishop of St. Omers, and of the Commissary and Definitor General of the Seraphic Order. The author, Fr. B. B. one of the Irish Franciscan friars at Louvaine, says of St. Patrick, that this Life ‘will abundantly teach how stupendious he was in perpetrating of miracles’. He will, he says, ‘furnish the scrip of your memories with bright stones taken up out of the torrent of our glorious Apostle’s life, wherewith, if you charge the sling of your tongues, the weakest among you shall be able to encounter and cast down any temerarious and Goliah-hearted Protestant that should undertake to renew the lost field, or to recover the gained breach’. ‘Since they obtrude their new-found Gospel on you, under the specious vizard of venerable antiquity, lo here we offer them St. Patrick’s Life, who lived in the purer times of Christianity: let them examine it, let them search it, and point us out what they shall find in it to countenance their cause, or to advance their religion.—Nothing will occur here but quires of sacred virgins, and troops of holy monks. They will admire at the frequent mention of holy veils and ecclesiastical tonsure. Holy water, vessels of holy oils, hallowed fire, the sign of the Cross, &c. sound very harshly in Protestants ears. Our wiving gospellers hold no commerce or society with a continent and chaste monk. The refined naturalists of Geneva will never acknowledge our glorious prelate’s walking in the majesty of a Roman pallium. These delicate reformers will never challenge a religious, consumed with fasts and weakened with hair-cloth, as a disciple. Paleness arising of long standing in cold water, (a thing never practised by our tender solifidians,) short and broken sleeps taken all alone on a hard flint, seem strange and absurd in the theology of our libidinous ministers, who lie immersed in beds of down, not alone, but embracing their sweethearts with greater devotion than ever any Geneva bible’. And presently he asks ‘What greater imposture can they impose on you than to father their Protestant paradoxes on the primitive Christians?’ [57] 

32.         The friar who thus talks of Protestant impostures, and triumphantly calls upon the Protestants to examine and search into the Life of St. Patrick, which he has written for their confusion, or edification, relates in this Life, not indeed that the Saint heated an oven with ice, but that he made a rousing fire with it. He relates also that fire dropt from his fingers and dried up the waters of an inundation; that he transported a leper to Ireland upon an altar stone, which served for the passage better than the best life-boat could have done; that he himself effected his landing there in the face of an army of devils drawn up to oppose him; that at sundry times he made the earth swallow sundry magicians; that he raised many persons from the dead whose bodies had long been resolved to dust; that he moved a mountain to accommodate a noble of Munster whose view from his dwelling was obstructed by it, and brought the mountain back as easily as he had displaced it, when the said noble refused to let him build a church, which he had promised if the miracle was performed; that he made a he-goat bleat in the belly of the man who had stolen and eaten it, and entailed a goat’s beard upon the issue of the thief for ever—(it is to be hoped that he limited it to the male line;) that when it rained, his sanctity served as great coat and umbrella to keep him perfectly dry; that when he walked in the night it was by the light of his own fingers; and that having cleared Ireland of magicians and devils, by whom it was so infested that the whole island was called the Devil’s own, he marched the venomous creatures of all kinds, by which it was overrun, to a promontory, and made them cast themselves into the sea—upon which Joceline exclaims, as well he might, ‘O miraculum magnificum a mundi exordio inexpertum, nunc tribubus, populis et linguis compertum, cunctis fere nationibus notorium, specialiter Hiberniæ incolis pernecessarium’. [58]  M. Gregoire may be indignant at the repetition of such legends; but when he insults a Protestant clergyman for alluding to them, it is proper he should be reminded that they were invented in his church, and promulgated with its sanction. It is fit also that he should be reminded of what Bolland has said with regard to these very tales, and other such as these, in the preface to his prodigious and invaluable collection. Quia vero in ejusmodi patrandis prodigiis sese ferè simplicitati ac fidei hominum Deus attemperat, ideo Hibernorum, Scotorum, Britannorum tam qui Albionem, quam qui Armoricam Galliæ, oram incolunt, plane portentosæ sunt Sanctorum Vitæ, atque ex miraculis ferè incredibilibus contextæ; quia apud eas gentes et constantia fidei egregia, et vitæ simplicitas, ac candor olim rarus extitit; vel certè quia simpliciores Scriptores. [59]  And he proceeds to say even malice itself cannot deny that very many miracles were formerly wrought in those countries, because, in spite of the triumph of heresy, they still continued to be manifested, for example, at St. Winifred’s Well.

33.         The Romish church, possessing and exercising, wherever it was established, a controul over the press, authorized the publication of these legends, not as spiritual romances, (like the Life and Death of Mr. Badman, the Pilgrim’s Progress and the Holy War,) [61]  but as authentic biography. This very romance of St. Patrick (there is not a more flagrant one in the whole Acta Sanctorum, though there are many more flagitious) was published, as we have shown, with an insolent appeal to its miracles and its authenticity against the Protestants. The Protestant therefore, on his part, is justified in appealing to it as a proof of the practices of the Romish church.

34.         So much for St. Patrick. Let us now look to the story of St. Antonio. [62]  From the manner in which M. Gregoire insults the American preacher for alluding to the sermon to the Fishes, it might be thought be had invented the legend, and fathered it upon the Romanists. Est-ce mauvaise foi? elle serait bien atroce. [63]  Might not these words be retorted upon the ex-bishop, knowing, as he cannot but know, that the legend is to be found in an hundred books, all published with the sanction and approbation of the appointed censors—in every Chronicle of the Franciscan Order—in every life of the Saint—in every Flos Sanctorum? The great Chronicler of the Order [64]  has so prettily, as well as circumstantially, related this notable miracle, that the reader may be pleased at seeing it faithfully rendered from his Latin.

When St. Antonio preached at Rimini, where there dwelt a great number of heretics, he disputed against their errors, and desired to bring them back to the light of truth. But they being as it were made stones by their obstinacy, not only would not yield to his holy eloquence, but even altogether refused to hear him. St. Antonio therefore, God inspiring him, went out one day to the mouth of the river, close by the sea, and standing upon the shore near to the sea and to the river also, began, in the manner of a discourse, to call upon the fishes on the part of the Lord, saying, Hear ye the word of the Lord, O ye fishes of the sea and of the river, seeing that the heretical infidels refuse to hear it! Behold immediately there gathered together before St. Antonio so great a multitude of fishes, great and small, as never had been seen in those parts; and they all held their heads a little out of the water. There you might have seen the great fish beside the little ones, and the little ones pass quietly under the fins of the great ones, and even rest there. There you might have seen divers species, each hastening to join those of its own kind, so that they were arranged before the face of the Saint, like a painted field, marvellously adorned with variety of colours and of forms. There you might have seen bands of fishes, huge and great, take their place at the preaching, like the divisions of an army in array. There you might have seen the fishes of a middle size chuse their middle station, and, as if instructed by their Maker, rest in their places without truculence. There you might have seen a copious multitude of little fishes approaching like pilgrims for an Indulgence, and drawing nearer to the Holy Father as their teacher. So that at this preaching, which was ordered by Heaven, in the first place the small fishes arranged themselves to hear St. Antonio, in the second those of a middle size, and the great ones in the third, where the water was deeper. They being thus arranged, St. Antonio solemnly began to preach, saying, ‘O Fish, my brethren, ye are greatly bounden, according to your capacity, to give thanks to the Creator who hath given you so noble an element for your habitation, so that ye have the sweet water, and the salt, as it suiteth you. Moreover he hath appointed for you manifold refuges that ye may avoid the annoyance of the storms. He hath made for you a clear and limpid element that ye might see whither ye go, and perceive also your food. At the creation of the world ye received from God as a benediction, the command that ye should multiply. At the deluge, when all other creatures who were not in the Ark perished, ye were preserved without hurt. To you it was appointed to swallow up the prophet Jonah at the command of the Lord, and after the third day to replace him on shore. You brought the tax money to our Lord and Saviour when he, as a poor man, had not else wherewith to have paid it. You, before the Resurrection, and after it, were the food of the eternal King. For all which things ye are greatly bound to praise and bless the Lord, from whom ye have received so many singular blessings above all other creatures’. At these words, some fishes uttered a sound, others opened their mouths, and all inclined their heads, praising together the Most High in such a manner as they could. Antonio, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit at this reverence of the fishes, and crying with a most loud voice, said, ‘Blessed be the eternal God, because the fishes of the water honour God more than heretical men, and irrational creatures hear better than men who are unfaithful in their belief’. By how much the more Antonio preached, so much the more did the multitude of fishes increase, none retiring from the place which they had taken. To which prodigy the people of the city hastened, the aforesaid heretics coming also, and seeing so unwonted and truly admirable a miracle, they were touched at heart, and all sat down at the feet of St. Antonio that he might preach to them. Then St. Antonio, opening his mouth, preached so marvellously upon the Catholic faith that he converted all the heretics who were there, and sent the faithful home strengthened in their faith, joyfully and with his benediction. The fishes also having obtained leave from St. Antonio, went their way to various parts of the sea as if rejoicing.
So far are the Bollandists, when they transcribe this story, from expressing even a doubt of its truth, that Papebroche says in his annotations he had himself seen the chapel which had been built upon the spot, ad rei memoriam; and that the fishermen in those parts suspend their employment on the anniversary of the miracle. Here then, in the Papal states, and under the sanction of the Papal government, is a place of worship erected, and an annual holyday observed in commemoration of a story which that government, as well as M. Gregoire, must have known to be grossly and ridiculously false. The Church of Rome has been notoriously guilty of such practices; and till that church shall have purged its kalendar and its breviaries, it will not avail its partizans to affect indignation when the reproach of such imposture is brought against it. We could, if it were necessary, adduce in like manner chapter and verse for the tale of St. Dominic and the Devil, [66]  and show that this also has been published with all the formalities required where the press is under Catholic superintendance. But enough of this. If M. Gregoire rejects these tales, and the thousands and tens of thousands such as these, with which, as he knows, the lives of the Saints and the Chronicles of the Religious Orders are filled, it is well; but if he still calls himself a Catholic, let him not reproach the Protestants with their variations.

35.         Bossuet has said, il est bien permis de changer dans la nouvellle réforme, mais il n’est pas permis d’avouer qu’on change. [67]  The truth of the remark is admitted by Warburton, who, observing that infallibility as claimed by Rome makes the mystery of ungodliness consistent, censures the absurdity of those who confess themselves fallible, and yet exact the same submission to their authority as if they could not err. ‘Whatever mistakes’, he says, ‘a Protestant church might have committed through the condition of humanity, it might from time to time have redressed with good grace, on the modest principles of Reformation: but when the force of truth had worked a change in the general principles of a Protestant church, as it did more than once in the matter of Calvinistical Predestination, men had rarely the courage to confess it’. Where, indeed, that has been the prominent doctrine of a dominant church, there, as might be expected, a change has taken place, and the danger of proceeding from one extreme to another has been exemplified; Socinianism prevails at this time in the city where Servetus was burnt, and Arianism [70]  in the pulpits of New England, whatever may be the case among the people. The founders of our church expressed themselves upon this perilous question cautiously, and infinitely are we beholden to their prudence. The Church of England in consequence has changed less in the course of two centuries than the immutable and infallible Church of Rome.

36.         Long ago Stillingfleet examined the pretensions of the Romish church to that unity of which it vaunts. He showed that there had never been greater disturbances in the world than upon the account of that authority of the pope which the Romanists look on as the foundation of their unity; that on the same account there had happened great and scandalous schisms, when, as Fuller observes, ‘Peter’s chair was like to be broken betwixt so many sitting down together;’ [72]  and that these differences in religion, both as to matter of order and doctrine, had been as great, and managed with as much animosity, as any in the Protestant churches. And the very book before us contains relations of follies as extravagant, and societies (if not sects) as fanatical, arising within the pale of the Roman Catholic church, as passion, error, knavery, or madness have produced out of it.

37.         Such were the Cordicoles, [73]  whose origin has been ascribed to Thomas Goodwin, Cromwell’s President of Magdalen College, Oxford. [75]  A tract which he published during his life, entitled ‘The Heart of Christ in Heaven toward Sinners upon Earth’, has occasioned a fierce English puritan to be accounted the author of a great superstition in the Romish church. [76]  According to M. Gregoire, all that Goodwin says is that as our Saviour has taken upon himself the human form, his heart is susceptible of those affections which are not connected with sin or infirmity. Ainsi raisonné l’ecrivain Anglais; et là ni ailleurs je ne vois rien qui autorise à le déclarer patriarche des Cordicoles. Si l’institution dont il s’agit n’etait pas vicieuse aux yeux des hommes sensés, sa nature ne serait pas altérée pour être l’ouvrage d’un Protestant: qu’importerait la source, si l’eau était pure? [77]  It is said that the Jesuit P. La Colombiere, [78]  who was Chaplain and Confessor to the Duchess of York, found in London a sect who addressed their devotions to the Heart of Jesus, under Goodwin’s spiritual direction; and having sought out their pastor, and learnt from him his peculiar sentiments, transported them into France. The pedigree of this superstition is not so improbable as it appears to M. Gregoire: the fanatics of that age approached as nearly to the Jesuits in some other respects as they did in the theory and practice of deposing kings and putting them to death. Our manufacturers of jet blacking do not vie more emulously with each other, than the religious orders of the Romish church have done in introducing modes of devotion, with their outward and visible signs—the banderoles, and humgigs, and jizzgigs of superstition, but its instruments as well as its trinketry. The Rosary, and the Agnus Dei and the Scapulary were old toys; why might not the Heart be brought into vogue, and become as popular and as useful as these had been in their day? So Father La Colombiere seems to have thought; and he found an inspired nun in a fit state to further his purposes. The venerable mother, Marguerite Marie Alacoque, a Visitandine nun in the monastery of Paray-le-Moncal, in the diocese of Autun, affirmed that our Saviour had appeared when she was engaged in prayer before the Holy Sacrament, and, showing her his heart, had said that as that heart had exhausted itself in giving men certain proofs of his love, it was his pleasure that a certain day should be dedicated to its worship; and she was charged to address herself to his servant, F. de la Colombiere, and order him to do all in his power for establishing this devotion. The venerable mother, in discharging the commission, moreover assured him that Christ expected much from the Jesuits.

38.         A flagitious imposture of this kind could not be carried on so openly at the close of the 17th century, as in the ages before the Reformation. The detection of Maria da Visitaçam at Lisbon, and of the villanies practised upon Jetzer at Berne, [80]  had rendered the adepts in such arts more wary. The revelations of Marie Alacoque therefore were not printed till after her confessor’s death and her own; they were then produced, when detection was no longer possible, as having been found among La Colombiere’s papers. The legend thus brought forward was worthy the worst ages of monkish wickedness. It was said, that in one of her amorous colloquies with her beloved Christ, he asked her, while her head was reclining upon his bosom, to give him her heart; and upon her consenting, he took it from her side, inserted it in his own, and then replaced it. He then constituted her heiress of his heart, and authorized her to dispose of it as she pleased; upon which she cut the name of Jesus with a penknife in large and deep letters upon her breast. As from that hour she suffered a continual pain in her side where the heart had been extracted and replaced, Christ told her that she should be bled whenever the pain became too strong; accordingly she was bled on the first Friday of every month as long as she lived, being one hundred and ninety-two times. The legend proceeds in the old vein of blasphemous fable to a promise of marriage with the Redeemer, the affiancing and the actual espousals. Compare such tales as these with the disgraceful story of Joanna Southcott, and the difference will immediately be seen between imposture and madness.

39.         The imposture was too late. When the Bishop of Soissons, in 1729, published the life of Marie Alacoque, he found it expedient to withdraw from sale a book which excited great indignation, and Pope Ganganelli suppressed an Italian translation as soon as it appeared. The fashion, however, which it was intended to introduce prevailed, the devotion was approved at Rome by the Congregation of Rites, and the Festival of the Heart of Jesus was authorized by a brief of Pope Clement XIII. Church bells were dedicated to it and named after it, towns placed under its patronage. Amulets were written on heart-shaped paper and inclosed in hearts of gold, silver, or baser metal, to be worn upon the breast; allegorical prints were engraved upon the same subject, in the taste of Hugo’s or Quarles’ Emblems, and the most splendid church in Lisbon was erected by the late Queen of Portugal, in honour of this new object of devotion, where the altar-piece by Pompeio Bettoni represents the heart in the heavens, radiating with glory. The court of Rome in vain represented the new worship as purely spiritual; the language of the devotees became as carnal as its tangible symbol, and they talked of its fine fibres and its blood derived from that of David, of its palpitation and dilatation. In the prolific order of such abuses it was conceived that the heart of the Virgin Mary was entitled to a like worship, as being after God’s own heart, and one with the heart of Christ; and a Friar Minim, preaching at Morteau, in Franche-Comt, to recommend this devotion, said that the foolish virgins could not enter into Paradise, because, when they knocked at the gate, they cried Lord, Lord! whereas if they had cried, Lady! Lady! the marriage hall would immediately have been opened to them.

40.         Thus in the christian, as in the heathen world, superstitions have arisen from the abuse of words, and typical representations have past into objects of idolatrous worship. The Roman church has grown more cautious in encouraging such practices than it was in darker times; it has also sometimes exposed frauds which it would formerly have encouraged, and suffered fanatics to follow their own wild impulses, which three centuries ago would have been controlled and directed by the policy of the church. In those days something would have been shaped out of the Society of Victims, who were so far connected with the Cordicoles, that each member was to wear a silver medallion representing the hearts of Christ and the Virgin. The use of the word Victim had been introduced by the foundress of the Religieuses adoratrices perpétuelles du très Saint Sacrement de l’Autel, an order of nuns which spread rapidly in France during the latter part of the 17th century. The sisters were to consider themselves as victims self-devoted in atonement for the offences offered to our Lord in the mystery of the Eucharist. Each in turn acted as the Victime réparatrice of the day; in the discharge of this office she secluded herself from the hour of matins; when the sisterhood went from the quire to the refectory she came out the last, with a rope round her neck and a torch in her hand; when they had taken their places at the table she reminded them of their obligation as victims immolated in the place of their Saviour, and then returned to the quire, fasting, and remained there till after vespers, like a lamb set apart from the flock, for sacrifice. M. Gregoire approves of this; he says, l’acception du mot Victime, qui se reproduit fréquemment dans cette règle, n’offre rien là que de louable; mais de quoi n’abuse-t-on pas? [83] 

41.         The person who took up the word, which M. Gregoire thinks was laudably used by the disciples of M. Mathilde, was Mademoiselle Brohon, [84]  who at the age of eighteen attracted considerable notice at Paris by her personal accomplishments and her talents. She wrote some novels, of which she repented when her life had been, as she believed, preserved by a miracle. From that time her writings were upon devotional subjects, and were published anonymously by her admirers. M. Gregoire says, they all display a certain kind of talent; the language is pure and sometimes felicitous, —but they are still romances of another kind, in which the writer delivers as realities the chimeras of her delirious imagination. Yet, he adds, they had seduced a great number of persons. Mlle. Brohon required that a college of Victims should be established, consisting of six men and as many women. Our Saviour, she said, had vouchsafed to act as her confessor, and chosen her to institute this new order; and he had said to her, seek me no longer upon the cross; I have yielded that place to thee: I shall be crucified no longer, my Victims shall be crucified for me. We pass over other things of the same kind too offensive to be brought forward. The honour of commencing this mission was given to the female sex for three reasons, first, as a proof of our Lord’s love to his blessed mother; secondly, to recompense the fidelity shown him by women during the course of his mortal life and passion; and, thirdly, to humble the male sex, and to make them jealous of the zeal of the weaker vessels. The number of Victims was fixed at twelve, to resemble the Apostles; the men were to be all priests, the women not subordinate to them but to the bishop only; and their successors were to be chosen from a body of auxiliaries, that there might be no deficiency at any time. Mademoiselle Brohon called upon Louis XV. in the name of the Lord, to devote Madame Victoire as one of the Victims. Elevated as her rank was, it would still be an elevation for her to become one of an order for whom the same privileges were promised as the angels enjoyed, and whom the angels themselves might envy. For their names were to be written with the precious blood which issued from the Redeemer’s side, and Christ and the Virgin had as parents adopted them, would live with them openly and familiarly, refuse them nothing, and admit them into all their secrets. Without them an essential point in the Messiah’s religion would still be wanting. They were to be his coadjutors in the great work of redemption, and, taking upon themselves the sins of the world, were to become, as it were, the centre, and reservoir, and channel from which grace was to flow upon mankind. The time for their institution was arrived, for God was about to exercise judgment upon the nations, to decimate the earth, and chuse for himself a new people. France, as having been the first of the Christian kingdoms, and distinguished for the purity of its faith and for its devotion to the Holy Virgin, might be the cradle of this chosen people, if its perversity did not deprive it of so great a blessing. And if France refused the Victims, its provinces would be lost, and a foreign prince would be commissioned to lay waste and subdue it. The prophetess thought she could perceive that the Spaniards would be the instruments of this chastisement. Heavy calamities would fall upon Paris, the clergy, secular as well as regular, would be abased, and the sanctuaries abolished, to punish the offences of those who ought to have been the ornament and glory of the church. When all was fulfilled, the Victims would constitute the sole body of the church during the reign of the Redeemer, and Enoch and Elias would be their presidents.

42.         The prediction of calamities for France accredited these dreams at the commencement of the revolution, and during its dreadful progress. Another unmarried woman, Mademoiselle Labrousse, [85]  as mad as her predecessor, began to prophesy in 1779, and when the horrors of the Revolution came on, believed that she saw in them the fulfilment of her predictions. She too thought that the Lord would chuse out victims acceptable to himself, that the existing ecclesiastical system would be done away, and two great societies, male and female, be substituted for it; and, like some of the primitive Quakers, she went to Rome for the purpose of assuring the Pope that his downfall was at hand. There are many places wherein such a crazy pretender would have been treated worse. She was confined in the castle of St. Angelo, and was so little dissatisfied with her treatment, that when the Directory demanded her liberation, she chose to remain there. At length, however, she returned to Paris. And M. Gregoire says, it is certain, that at this time both Mademoiselles Brohon and Labrousse have their believers in that city, and not among the ignorant and vulgar only, but those who occupy or have occupied honourable stations; doués de vertus, de talens, he says, ils attestent par le fait que l’erreur peut trouver accès dans les tétes les mieux organisèes, et que le bon sens est limitrophe de la déraison. [86] 

43.         The Convulsionnaires [87]  also, we are told, still exist at Paris, Lyons, and in other parts of France; that they should ever have existed might appear incredible, if any excess of folly, extravagance, or horror could excite surprize in the history of fanaticism and deceit. Their origin is connected with the question of Jansenism, [88]  wherewith a century ago all Europe rang from side to side. In the persecution which that question brought upon Port-Royal, it was affirmed that miracles were wrought in favour of the persecuted party; the most remarkable of these was the cure of a fistula lachrymalis, [89]  which was instantly healed when a thorn from the holy crown was kissed by the patient in full faith. If this were the fact, nothing could be more plainly miraculous; and that it was so, was so strongly attested, that the Archbishop of Paris, though an enemy to Port-Royal, admitted it; it was believed by the court, who would gladly have detected fraud or falsehood in a community which it had determined to destroy; the proceedings against the monastery were for awhile suspended in consequence, and Pascal, upon whose niece the miracle was wrought,  [90]  appealed to it in triumph with his characteristic energy. Pascal’s is deservedly a great name, and may therefore, in this case, carry with it an authority to which it is not fairly entitled.

44.        The Lettres Provinciales, [91]  able as they are, and efficient beyond all other controversial writings, are worse than disingenuous; and the man who could write with such unfairness might rightly be suspected of dishonesty in acts as well as in words, wherever the interests of his sect or party were concerned. On the other hand, nothing, except the alleged miracle itself, can be more improbable, than that a man of such eminent abilities should have ventured upon a fraud, which was sure to be closely scrutinized, and could hardly escape detection. The sincerity of his opinions is proved by the austere life which he led after his conversion, and this very circumstance produced in him that great and effectual change. Ever after he wore the device of a crown of thorns for his seal; it was represented as emitting rays, and the motto was, Scio cui credidi. The circumstance itself is one of those things (and whoever has read much must have met with many) which it is equally difficult to believe, or disbelieve, or account for. Its effect upon the public mind prepared the way for the astonishing exhibitions which ensued upon the death of the Deacon Paris. [93] 

45.        This person, who has obtained so singular and lasting a celebrity, was a humble-minded, worthy man, bigoted to Jansenism. Having appealed against the bull Unigenitus, [94]  he thought it his duty not to receive priests’ orders, renounced his patrimony, and retired into the Fauxbourg St. Marceau, the most beggarly part of Paris, where he supported himself by making stockings, and shared his earnings with the poor. The austerities which he practised in this obscure and charitable course of life, are believed to have accelerated his death. The younger brother, to whom he had resigned his inheritance, erected a monument to his memory in the churchyard of St. Medard. The grave of the pious and penitent deacon, as he was then called, was visited as much in gratitude as in devotion, by the infirm, and sick, and poor, to whom he had administered alms and spiritual consolation; and some there were who affirmed that their bodily ailments had been relieved while they were engaged in praying there. This might easily have been feigned or fancied, and there were strong motives both for credulity and fraud; for he who could allege that he was the object of miraculous favour, appealed, with sure effect, to the charity of those who believed him. At length it was asserted, that a girl, who was both blind and lame, had been cured at his grave. This was so commonly believed, that the archbishop of Paris deemed it expedient to institute a judicial examination, the result of which was to show that the girl had never been either lame or blind. But wilful credulity is never to be undeceived. A certain Abbé Becheraud, who had one leg shorter than the other, declared that, after he had prostrated himself on the thaumaturgic grave, he found a sensible though not a visible elongation of the defective limb; at length it was reported that the leg had been elongated an inch; this was disproved by measurement: still, however, he proclaimed that he felt the miraculous aid which he sought, though nobody could see it, and the multitude believed him; and he became, in consequence, so great an object of veneration among the vulgar, that the government thought proper to cut the delusion short by confining him in St. Lazare.

46.        This did not suffice: other patients rapidly presented themselves to deceive others, and be deceived themselves. One woman, with a short leg, went to have it stretched by dancing upon the grave: at the end of some months a calculation was made that at the same rate of elongation the cure would be perfected when she should have capered there for fifty-four years. A Spaniard, who had received a blow in the eye, applied the apothecary’s prescription with a rag of the deacon Paris’s shirt, and the cure was attributed to the relic. The churchyard now became a scene of the strangest extravagance. Magistrates in their robes, men and women of rank, priests, monks, and doctors of the Sorbonne, were to be seen there, mingled with the vulgarest rabble, as admiring and believing spectators, while knaves and dupes were exhibiting themselves upon the grave, dancing, jumping, jerking, whirling, or writhing in the contortions of real or pretended convulsionary movements. Folly and fanaticism are always contagious enough; but there was more than the natural contagion of these moral endemics here: the deacon had been a confessor in the cause of Jansenism, and the Jansenists were as ready as the Jesuits to obtain credit by promoting any delusion in their own favour. Government at last shut the churchyard, and this gave occasion to the well-known pasquinade which was written upon the gates:—

De par le Roi, défense à Dieu
De faire miracle en ce lieu. [95] 

47.        In an earlier stage of the frenzy, such an interference might have proved effectual. It had been delayed too long. The earth from the churchyard, the water from the well of which the deacon used to drink, were now said to operate miraculous cures. And while the prisons were crowded with those who, in defiance of the police, presented themselves at the churchyard, extravagances infinitely worse than those which had been suppressed, were committed in private houses. Like the French revolution, that which had begun in enthusiasm, accident, and intrigue, had now passed into the hands of wretches, in whom it would be difficult to say whether villainy or madness predominated. It no longer sufficed for the patients to invoke the blessed deacon, and expect relief by means of convulsions, which the fervour of their devotion produced. The convulsionnaires, as they were called, stood in need of human succour for receiving his miraculous aid. These succours were administered by men—the persons who required them being generally women; and they consisted in blows with a stick, a stone, a hammer, a poker, or a sword. One woman would lie down to be threshed like a bundle of wheat; another stood upon her head; a third forming a half circle, by bending her body back, remained in that frightful position, while a stone, fifty pounds weight, fastened by a rope to a pulley in the ceiling, was repeatedly let fall upon the abdomen; a fourth had a plank placed across her while she lay on her back, and bore the weight of as many men as could stand upon the plank.

48.        These disgusting practices were reduced to a system; there were the great and the little succours; among the former, the exercise of the spit was classed. It is affirmed that one woman was fastened stark naked to a spit, with a pullet tied behind her, and a brother, as the male assistants were called, turned the spit before a fierce fire, till the bird was fairly roasted. The salamanders, who have displayed their art in England, show that this might be possible for any one flagitious enough to become the subject of such an exhibition; and what is most marvellous here, is the utter profligacy of the abandoned performer. But even the indubitable accounts which have appeared of what the Indian Yoguees inflict upon themselves would hardly obtain belief for the fact, that women presented themselves to undergo actual crucifixion in these accursed displays of fanaticism and impiety, obscenities and horrors, if it were not established beyond all possibility of doubt. Baron Grimm has preserved an account of two of these shocking exhibitions, [96]  from notes taken on the spot by M. de Condamine [97]  and M. de Gustel. Sister Rachel and Sister Felicite, who were both between thirty and forty years of age, were moved in spirit to present the lively image of our Saviour’s passion; and they were actually nailed through the hands and feet to two wooden crosses, and so continued for upwards of three hours. It was evident that they suffered the severest agony, especially when the nails were driven in, and when they were taken out; this occasioned muscular shrinkings and writhings, which it was impossible to suppress; but with Indian fortitude they withheld every indication of suffering over which the mind had power. And to keep up the delusion of their admirers, and aid the deceit of their spiritual directors, who were affirming that they felt the most exquisite delight, they affected sometimes to slumber as if in a beatific trance; and sometimes addressed the spectators in the fondling and babyish language of the nursery. When they were taken down, the wounds, which bled freely, were washed and bandaged, after which they sate down quietly to eat in the midst of the assembly. There was no fraud in all this, nor were the women themselves guilty of any other deception than that of encouraging the belief that they had endured unutterable pleasure while they were suspended. They were pitiable fanatics, acting under the direction of consummate knaves. And if any delusion could be suspected in this case, the circumstances at the second exhibition were such as to put its reality beyond all doubt. In this also, two women, Sisters Françoise and Marie, were crucified. M. de Condamine examined the nails when they were driven in, and when they were taken out; they were rough square nails, more than three inches long, and entered about a half inch into the wood of the cross. Marie could not conceal the agony she felt when they were driven in, and in less than an hour, cried out that she must be taken down, for she could bear it no longer: being accordingly unfastened, she was carried away senseless, to the great confusion of her associates. Sister Françoise was of a stronger fibre, and remained on the cross upwards of three hours, during which time its position was frequently altered. This woman had announced that she had received a divine command to have the gown burnt off her back that day, and had been assured of receiving much comfort from the operation. The directors, unless they were as mad as herself, must have supposed that she was properly prepared for such an ordeal; and accordingly she was set on fire; but on her part all had been pure insanity, unalloyed with fraud, and this was a trial against which no illusion of mind could strengthen her; she shrieked for help—water was poured upon her, and she was carried away half scorched, half drowned, thoroughly ashamed, and sufficiently punished.

49.         A few individuals, who had not wholly abandoned themselves to fanaticism, or the not less deleterious influence of party-spirit, might be awakened in time by such decided proofs of delusion as these. But neither absurdities, nor horrors, nor the hateful obscenities which soon mingled themselves with these flagitious exhibitions, could undeceive the thorough-paced believers. ‘That in an aera of learning and penetration’, says Mr. Butler, ‘in a large capital, abounding with men of learning and discernment, under the eye of an enlightened and active society, ardently anxious to detect it, and in the face of a most despotic and vigilant police, bent on the destruction of the party for whose benefit the scene was exhibited, such an imposition could so long have been practised, is one of the most remarkable phenomena in the history of the human mind. It shows that when the imagination of the multitude is inflamed, their general testimony is entitled to no credit; and that in such circumstances, the testimony even of respectable individuals should be received with distrust’. [98]  Such are the reflections of one of the most judicious and candid of the English Catholics upon these transactions—a writer whose genuine liberality is not less to be admired than his full knowledge of every subject on which he touches, and whose benignant feelings always command our respect, even when we differ from him most widely in opinion. But the truth appears to be that all was not imposition, and that the strong agency of enthusiasm had called forth powers both of mind and body, the existence of which had not, at that time, been suspected by psychologists, and of which, now their existence is known, the nature and extent are alike mysterious. Mr. Butler himself probably believes the Port-Royal miracle of La Sainte Epine. [99]  Miss Schimmelpennick, who, as a protestant, would admit no supernatural virtue in relics, and might reasonably call in question the authenticity of this particular one, nevertheless believes the fact, as having been so ‘numerously attested by eyewitnesses of the most unsuspected piety, and most distinguished intelligence, that no person who admits the possibility of miraculous interpositions, can doubt it’. [100]  Among the well-attested cures which were wrought by faith in the Deacon Paris, there were none, perhaps, which so clearly implied a physical impossibility, and therefore a direct miracle as this. But there were many so unlike the established course of nature, that they were deemed miraculous by those who did not believe in the Deacon, as well as by those who did. Rollin, [101]  the Chevalier Folard, [102]  and other persons of equal probity, and not less distinguished in their day, were confident believers. Some of the French bishops believed; others held that these things were miracles indeed, but of the devil’s working; and this explication M. Gregoire appears to adopt, relying upon the authority of his favourite father, St. Augustine, that miracles may be wrought out of the unity of the church, though he who works them is not the nearer to salvation. A middle course was taken by those who thought the convulsions might properly be expected, but disapproved of the succours, and the rest of the mummery, which had been superinduced. They termed it, in that case, a mixed work, in which there was le diable dominant, and le diable dominé. These persons were called the discernants, and the melangistes,—for sect upon sect arose according to the different degrees and shades of credulity. D’Alembert and D’Argenson [103]  advised, as the surest way of bringing these scandalous practices into disrepute, that they should be burlesqued in puppet-shows. The ministers treated a serious evil more seriously, though, perhaps, not more wisely. They banished some of the most conspicuous believers, and imprisoned others. But no severity sufficed: the belief still prevailed, the practices were continued; the disputes concerning them were vehemently carried on till the commencement of the Revolution, and the Revolution, which overturned every thing, did not destroy the sect of the Convulsionnaires.

50.        Like the Victims, they derived a certain degree of credit from the events of the Revolution, which they were believed to have foretold. One of the crazy sisterhood had predicted a time when the sceptre would be broken, and the crown be made the sport of a raging multitude. She had said that Louis XVI. would be dethroned, and that perhaps his life would be attempted: she had pronounced an anathema against kings and their subjects, pastors and their flocks, and, taking a torch, she feigned to set fire to the four quarters of Paris, betokening what must happen. Negroes and savages, she prophesied, were about to enter France, and destroy every thing, and she foretold new schools for error, a new catechism, new doctrines, and the persecution of those who should oppose the teachers of falsehood. It is no wonder that these ravings of madness were appealed to as genuine prophecy, when, during the reign of madness, so much was actually perpetrated of what had been thus loosely denounced. But whether the ravings themselves were the mere products of a distempered brain, or, like, the prophecies of Merlin in old times, devised for preparing and bringing about the events at which they pointed, is a question which may reasonably be asked. It is an artifice which has been used in all ages and in all countries. Our own history abounds with examples of it, and there is full proof that it was widely practised at the commencement of those measures in France, which drew on the Revolution. A society was established for the purpose of diffusing revolutionary predictions and revolutionary principles throughout Europe, by means of religious enthusiasm. Its headquarters were at Avignon, and it had its agents every where. This is a curious subject which has never been thoroughly investigated; and perhaps it is no longer possible to trace it to its source, and ascertain who were the prime movers of the scheme, and whence the means of supporting it were derived. [104]  Barruel, who clearly understood the object of the society, but seems to have been unacquainted with its proceedings, supposes that it was chiefly composed of Swedenborgians, and disciples of St. Martin. [105]  The Swedenborgians are innocent of any such machinations; they are an inoffensive sect, holding a nonsensical belief. St. Martin has lately been called in an English journal, ‘a very eminent philosopher’. He was originally bred to the law, but afterwards entered the army: falling, however, into opinions not consistent with the military profession, he resigned his commission, travelled in Italy and England; and, then fixing his abode in Paris, had the good fortune to go through the revolution without being sullied by its crimes. M. Gregoire says it is absurd to think that he ever wished to overthrow the government, but that, according to those who knew him, he was an inoffensive, amiable man, who set an example, en bon Théosophe, of submission to the laws, of resignation, and of beneficence.

51.        Qu’est-ce qu’un Théosophe? A friend of St. Martin asserts that ‘a Theosophe is a true Christian, and that to become so it is not necessary to begin by being wise, but by being humble and virtuous! He disclaims all connection with that false philosophy, the detestable principles of which will so long be felt in France; classes Pythagoras, Plato, Pherecydes and Socrates among inspired persons; Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, Bacon, Leibnitz and Henry More among Theosophes, and the Oupneckh’at and Mahabarat [106]  among theosophical writings’. Here the madness appears; in reality St. Martin was a madman of Jacob Behmen’s [107]  stamp, and like Behmen he found persons who admitted the obscurity of his language as proof of the depth of his meaning. ‘Though the light’, said he, ‘be made for all eyes, it is still more certain that all eyes are not made to behold it in its brightness; and the small number of those who are the depositaries of the truths which I announce are bound to prudence and discretion by the strictest engagements. Therefore I have allowed myself to use great reserve in this country, and oftentimes to cover myself with a veil, through which even eyes that are not ordinary ones cannot always pierce, especially as I speak sometimes of something altogether different from that of which I seem to be treating’. [108]  This affectation of mystery may not unlikely have given rise to the charge against him of secret revolutionary designs. But he was not an irreligious man; the very work wherein this passage was contained was written under an impulse of indignation against Boulanger, who, reviving with a worse spirit the errors of the ancient atheists, affirmed that all religions had no other origin than in the terror occasioned by great natural convulsions. [109]  M. Gregoire admits that some sane views, some luminous ideas, are to be found among the extravagances of St. Martin; and that if they were judiciously selected they might form a small volume worthy of being favourably received. This Theosophe was too poor, too religious, and too insane to have any share in establishing the seminary of revolutionists at Avignon: but it is very probable that some of his disciples may have been connected with it; for this sort of theosophy easily coalesces with the wildest revolutionary opinions. One of the most curious compounds of insanity and genius in our language is a poem entitled ‘The Hurricane, a Theosophical and Western Eclogue;’ and the author says of himself in the notes, that he is the only being in the world who goes through every inch and every league of the French Revolution. [110] 

52.        The society at Avignon, according to M. Gregoire, was founded, by Grabianca, [111]  a Polish Starost, and the Benedictine Dom Pernetty, well known by his various publications. It is to be regretted that a man who accompanied Bougainville to the Falkland islands, who was at the same time abbot of Burgel, and librarian to the King of Prussia, and who was one of the founders of so strange an institution, should not have written his own life, so curiously unlike that to which, by his profession, he had devoted himself. [112]  He is represented here neither as Theosophe nor Philosophe, but as a heretic who taught the divinity of the Virgin Mary, making her co-eternal with the Son: it is added that his followers were Millenarians, and that they were accused of admitting a community of women. The clandestine nature of their meetings, M. Gregoire says, favoured such an imputation, but by no means proved it. In all this, except in the expectation of the millennium, there is nothing to accord with what is known of the Avignon society.

53.        Neither Barruel [113]  nor M. Gregoire appears to have seen the accounts of the society published in England by John Wright and William Bryan, [114]  at the time when the delusion concerning Richard Brothers was prevailing. Both these men were in humble life, the one a carpenter, the other a copper-plate printer; both were poor and needy; and both were induced, in the year 1789, to leave their wives and families, and set out for Avignon, being moved by the Spirit to join a society there, who were favoured with divine communications. Bryan had heard of this society from a certain Major Tieman, [115]  a Russian, whom he had seen in London two years before; and he had a friend at Paris who was also connected with this mysterious association. They set off from London with only four guineas; which barely carried them to Paris; there their friend supplied them with seven louis, and told them that the society were expecting two brethren to unite with them. Upon reaching Avignon they found the Russian Major there, and the society expecting them. ‘Nothing’, says Bryan’, could exceed the brotherly kindness shown by these men, who told us we were welcome to the house provided by the Lord for those of his children whom he might be pleased to send to the re-union from all parts of the earth. They said whatever was there, was ours as much as theirs; they had not any thing they called their own; the Lord had done away the distinction of mine and thine in their minds’. The Russian was their interpreter and instructor for a few days, till their friend arrived from Paris. They remained there seven months ‘employed in reading and making extracts from the journals of the Society, by which they were informed of the many changes taking place, and to take place, in the nations of the earth, to prepare the way of the Lord’s second coming, and the restoration of his people, the whole house of Israel, according to the prophecies in the Scriptures’. And when they departed, they were so liberally supplied with money for their expenses, that they landed in England with ten louis each.

54.        The grossest artifices were practised upon these simple men during their stay. Wright says, ‘very often when we have been sitting together, the furniture in the room has been shook, as though it was all coming to pieces; and upon inquiring what was the cause, we were told that it announced the presence of angels; and when these were not heard, the brethren were always afraid that something was amiss, and so inquired at the Word of the Lord:’ [116]  for these impious intriguers pretended to have a direct intercourse with the Word, and at any time to obtain divine answers to the questions which they proposed. The Englishmen were one day shown the Archangel Raphael—in the appearance of a poor traveller. What the Society aimed at may be gathered from what Wright published as having been faithfully copied from their journals. It is throughout of the same tenour as the ensuing specimens.—

‘Remember that the face of the world will be changed, and you shall see it restored to its first state. The thrones shall be overturned; the earth shall be furrowed, and change its aspect. Those who shall be alive at that time will envy the fate of the dead.

‘You will learn very soon that a part of the world is in confusion; that the chiefs of nations are armed one against another. The earth will be overflowed with blood; you will hear of the death of several sovereigns. They give themselves up to luxury, they live in pleasures; but at last one of them will fall and make an unhappy end.

‘Palestine will become again the most fortunate country on the earth. It shall be the centre of that faith of which it was the cradle; and from thence faith will spread itself all over the earth. The world will become again what it was in the beginning. The enlightened Jews will embrace the Catholic faith. All people will acknowledge one God, the only true God. They will be guided by one only pastor, and governed by one sole master.

‘This is the time that we must believe all those who announce the new reign of the Lord, for his spirit is with them.

‘In the day of vengeance, when God will have cursed the impious, he will place the fire of his anger at the four corners of the earth, and the winds of the heavens will blow to burn up its inhabitants.

‘The Eternal has spoken, I shall simplify all things for the happiness of my elect. The moment is at hand, when the confusion of languages shall no more be an obstacle to the knowledge of the truth’.

A question was proposed, Whether the dislike which one of the Englishmen felt to join with any community in their forms of worship, was from Heaven or not? The answer was—‘Come, come, saith the Eternal Word, O all you whom I call, come to me into the retreat, and you shall there find the calm and the rest, which my love reserves for the elect who hearken unto me. Tell him, well-beloved son, yea. The voice which drew thee from the tumults and contentions which divide thy own country, on the borders where thou dwellest, will in silence dispose thy spirit for the truth: and wisdom will enter into thy heart, and its virtue penetrate thy soul to spread it to the eyes of the universe, when the Word, surrounded with glory, before long shall come, dissipating error, to tread under foot vice and falsehood. Hearken, understand. It was I who inspired thee when thou madest thy question; it is I who answered thee; and it is by me that thou mayst know what thou wast, and what thou oughtest to be’.

61.        Implicit belief was inculcated upon them in these answers from the oracle, and they were encouraged to labour as missionaries in the cause, by vague promises of happiness and elevation. ‘If the ardour which animates thee’, said the pretended Word, ‘gives at last to thy heart over thy spirit the victory and the empire; if thou renouncest the desire to discover before the time, the secret of the mysteries which simple reason is not able to conceive, nothing can, my son, convey an obstacle to that happiness which awaits thee. Believe, believe, my son, every thing that I reveal to our Elect in the name of the Eternal; and the Eternal will make thee of his glory the forerunning instrument in the places, where his clemency wants to pardon those of thy nation whom the enemy seduces by his prestiges’.

62.        The Quakers disowned Bryan for having taken this journey to Avignon, though in so doing, he says, he was in the strictest sense obeying their principles, for he was ‘very particularly led by the spirit’. To men thus prepared, the French Revolution, which was then beginning, seemed to be the commencement of the prodigious changes which they were taught to expect and to announce. But Richard Brothers happening ere long to excite attention, they supposed that he was the chosen instrument in whom the prophecies were to be fulfilled; and Brothers was of course confirmed in his madness by their stories from Avignon. By his orders, which were delivered in the name of the Lord, Wright published such parts of what he had transcribed at Avignon as Brothers pointed out, the Prince of the Hebrews thinking it proper that others should be suppressed. There is no reason to question the facts of the narrative; and the prophecies, by their French idiom, authenticate themselves. The whole agrees perfectly with what M. Gregoire reports of a collection of papers on the subject, published by P. Pani, a Commissioner of the inquisition at Rome. [117]  The Society, it was there said, pretended that it was destined by Heaven to reform the world, by establishing a new people of God. The members were distinguished not by their names, but by figures; this appears in Wright’s extracts. The members were consecrated after a regular form; this also appears by the English accounts, and they pretended to be favoured with dreams, inspirations, and the ministry of angels. He who presided over their cabalistic operations was called their Patriarch, or Pontiff; and there was a king destined to govern the new chosen people. From Wright’s extracts it appears that this king, whom they called Charles, was then a child or boy, and that his reign was to commence in Poland. A certain Ottavio Cappelli, [118]  who had been first a Dominican friar, then, having unfrocked himself, a gardener, was laid hold of by the Inquisition as the author of the ritual for the reception of members, and as pretending to communicate with the Archangel Raphael. The process was made, and he was condemned to abjure his errors, and to be confined seven years in a fortress. Proceedings were instituted also against the Society itself. According to Barruel, the nuncio of Avignon ordered Pernetty and his adepts to quit that territory within a month; but they had associates at Rome powerful enough to obtain a repeal of the order, or bold and artful enough to forge one. The arrest of Cappelli, however, and the proceedings against him, alarmed them, and they were only freed from their apprehensions by the progress of the revolution. Pernetty died before that time, in 1787; the Society then consisted of about an hundred members, and Barruel accuses them of having formed in conjunction with the Illuminés of Sweden and of Lyons, ‘le plus secret, le plus monstrueux des collèges et le tribunal le plus terrible aux rois,—celui qui avertit que leur tour est venu, qui nomme les bourreaux, et qui fait parvenir les poignards, ou les poisons’. [119]  Barruel draws inferences which are not borne out by his facts, and by assuming an hypothesis has given his book the appearance of a romance, thereby rendering the real information which it contains suspicious. The designs of the Society were mischievous enough: but the men who engage in such schemes are not those who meddle with direct treason. They are too cunning for that, if not too scrupulous; ready, at safe distance, to set others on, but not to act with them, or implicate themselves. The only effect of the Avignon Society during the revolution may possibly be traced in a dispatch of Charlier and Pochole, the commissioners of the National Convention at Lyons. They reported that a sect had arisen in that department, who professed a determination of establishing the Republic of Christ; and that crowds of persons, under circumstances the most alarming, were abandoning their homes, and assembling to march to Jerusalem. But they had easily been put down.

63.        M. Gregoire, with little propriety, calls this mysterious society the Fanatics of Avignon. In Pernetty’s life, he says, it consisted of about an hundred members, but in 1804 was reduced to six or seven. He speaks of a woman as still belonging to it, and corresponding with a retired soldier at Avignon, who has published a translation of the 68th Psalm from the Hebrew, and asserts in his Commentary, that the Ark of Alliance, the Manna, and Aaron’s Rod, are existing in safe concealment in the Holy Land, and will be brought to light when the Jews shall enter into the bosom of the church. These persons are mere enthusiasts. But the history of the Society deserves more investigation than he has bestowed upon it.

64.        One of the most curious articles in the Ex-Bishop’s book is that upon the present state of Protestantism. It is interesting to know the opinions of the most decided Liberals in the Catholic Church upon that subject. Like Bossuet, he has taken all the advantage that the spirit of dissent afforded him; and boldly affirms, that as a consequence of the Protestants’ own principles, more Illuminés, and more Visionaries, ought to be found, and in reality are found among them than among the Catholics. This he says in a work which contains an account of the Convulsionaires! But the truth is, that the Illuminés belong at least as much to knavery as to enthusiasm; and that the Visionaries, were it possible to ascertain their relative numbers, would be found in proportion to that of the Catholic and Protestant population. Theirs are cases of nosology: in Protestant states there is no preventive police to prevent the disease, when it manifests itself, from becoming endemic: the Catholic church sometimes cuts it short, and sometimes takes it under its care, disarms it of its dangerous symptoms, and then inoculates for it. Joanna Southcott would have been too crazy to hold up as a Beata, or train for a saint: had she appeared, therefore, in a Catholic country, she would have been confined as a mad woman, as she ought to have been in this. Anne Moore, the fasting impostor of Tutbury, [120]  was a more manageable person, and, in fact, just such a woman figures in the Acta Sanctorum.

65.        M. Gregoire, with better reason, dwells upon the decision of the University of Helmstadt, that the Princess of Wolfenbuttel might lawfully abjure the Protestant faith to qualify herself for marrying Charles VI. afterwards Emperor; [121] —a scandalous decision, founded upon the falsest reasoning. For what can be more grossly fallacious than to infer, that, because they who live conscientiously and piously in an erring church, will, by God’s mercy, be saved, therefore it is allowable, for the sake of any great temporal advantage, to enter into that erring church and renounce a purer one? He boasts also of the numerous proselytes to Catholicism in Germany, enumerating with pride the distinguished names of Winkelmann, Schlegel, and, greater than either, Count Frederick Stolberg. [122]  The secretary of the diocese of Strasburg, he says, has within four years expedited about three hundred powers for reconciling Protestants to the Catholic church. In the year 1767 the Bishops, pursuant to a motion in the House of Lords by Lord Radnor, required their clergy to take an account of the number of Catholics in their respective parishes; the increase at that time was said to have been very great; and it has been stated, that within the last thirty years they have increased seven-fold. This may be matter for grave political consideration. But if the nature of such conversions were inquired into, part would be found to consist of persons who, having been tost about by every wind of doctrine, shifted from sect to sect, and rested at last where they found not the most reason, but the most imposing assumption of authority. A larger portion would be women who had suffered themselves to be caught in the cobweb of controversy by some priest, an adept in such arts; and the great majority would be ignorant persons in low life, neglected by their own church, and glad to fasten themselves as beadsmen upon some wealthy catholics. It is true, as M. Gregoire boasts, that the set-off against these numbers is very trifling; but it is not true that the few proselytes which have been made by the English church have consisted chiefly of emigrant priests, and that the affair, as Erasmus says, terminates usually, like a comedy, in a wedding. [123]  The church of England is not like a sect, solicitous for converts, nor does it boast of them; but it has at this day, to our knowledge, proselytes from the Church of Rome, to whom no unworthy motives can possibly be attributed, and of whose talents and virtues any community might be proud.

66.        If the Ex-Bishop is to be believed, when he predicts what is to come, ‘Protestantism will never again become what it has been, and cannot remain what it is; an irresistible movement is bearing it towards its end, its constitution itself is the corrosive germ of its existence. It will have the fate of all those sects’, he says, ‘which the Catholic church, during eighteen centuries, has seen successively rise, attack, and fall away before her; while, elevating her majestic head above all errors, heresies, and schisms, directed by her divine founder, she holds on to the consummation of ages’. According to him, its triumph must be not only sure, but easy,— so easy, indeed, as to be inglorious. The Protestant clergy have long taken to preach upon ethics for want of piety, for want of theological abilities, and from idleness. To declaim against vice requires no great depth either of mind or erudition; but to instruct their hearers in the great truths of Christianity, and to make them love, and admire, and adore that which produces the true sanctification of the heart, of this they are not capable’. Is M. Gregoire ignorant even of the names of our great divines, that he should repeat this impudent declamation of one as ignorant as himself of the subject upon which he is declaiming?

67.        Holding the Protestants thus cheaply, M. Gregoire touches upon the question of a Reunion of the Churches. Collectively considered he classes the Protestants in two great divisions, the one consisting of those who, like the Unitarians in England, and the philosophizing Christians of Germany, believe as much of revealed religion as suits with their system, and no more; the other, those who hold fast to revelation, but are split into an hundred subdivisions. The former, he says, cannot become parties to any reunion with the Romish Church, yet, with a strange inconsistency, he enumerates Professors Eichorn and Paulus [124]  among the Protestant Savans who might enter upon the project with more success than their predecessors; and he points out a number of Catholics, among whom the only English name is the truly respectable one of Berrington, as persons who may direct their labours to the same end. It would be easy, he says, for the different governments of Europe to second these views. The Catholic Church admits of no compromise upon any point of doctrine, but upon matters of discipline it may make some sacrifices.

68.        In this respect M. Gregoire certainly deserves the praise of candour, that he neither disguises nor qualifies any of his own opinions, for the sake of making them appear less obnoxious than they are to Christians of other persuasions. ‘Civil and religious toleration’, he says, ‘must not be confounded. Religious toleration would imply that error and truth are indifferent: but truth cannot be indifferent; there is but one truth, and religious toleration would therefore be an outrage to God, who is truth itself. Civil toleration is that which grants to every one the liberty of publicly performing his worship,—a right inalienable in every political society, and which ought to be called liberty of worship—not toleration’. ‘Out of the church there is no salvation, as there was none out of the ark of Noah, which was its type’. But if this postulate be granted, toleration becomes, by the plainest and straightest reasoning, what the old Presbyterians called it, soul-murder, and the consequences drawn from it by Bishop Gardener and Bishop Bonner [126]  will be as fairly justified by sound logic as they are authorized and approved by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church. Their conclusions fall to the ground, because the principle is false. But M. Gregoire holds the principle in its widest extent. The Paschal Lamb, he says, is not to be eaten out of the bosom of the church. Out of the Ark of Noah all persons perished, even infants, and those who had never heard of it. Upon this subject M. Gregoire produces whatever is most positive in the language of St. Augustine, for the purpose of avowing his full assent to it! All men, he says, are children of wrath, therefore all worthy of vengeance, all worthy of punishment, all worthy of hell. It is an article of faith that the sin of Adam being transmitted to his descendants renders them all guilty. To wish therefore, in favour of infidels, and of those who have not been baptized, to open a new road whereby they may escape damnation, is to contradict Christ himself; for at the Last Judgement some will be on his right hand to enter into eternal happiness, and others on his left to partake the punishment of the devils. Whoever is not on the right, will indubitably be on the left. He will not even tolerate the opinion that unbaptized infants undergo a kind of damnation in which they are exempt from actual torments. ‘A kind of damnation!’ he exclaims, ‘what language! God does not inflict upon them positive pain! Then they are not children of wrath, as the Scripture calls them. St. Augustine affirms that he who is not in the kingdom of Heaven is in eternal fire’. By a curious infelicity M. Gregoire contrives to unite in his own opinions whatever is most odious in Calvinism with whatever is most offensive in the Romish superstition. And sincerely is it to be regretted that Christianity should thus be represented by one of its sincere advocates in a country which is overrun with infidelity. Wherever the doctrine of the damnation of infants is taught, wherever a church proclaims, without reserve or limitation, that salvation is to be obtained only within its own fold, wherever transubstantiation is the prominent object of faith, infidelity must and will predominate.

69.        Upon the subject of infidelity we shall shortly recur to M. Gregoire. For the present we would part from him in good will, and with respect for his openness and benevolence, though in the most decided hostility to his errors, both political and religious. The following passage would disarm us of any hostile feeling. ‘Some important facts’, says the author, ‘perhaps even some erroneous citations may have escaped me. Learned men of different communions, among whom I have many friends, will in their indulgence forgive me this, and by their information correct it. If any expressions which may shock them should have crept in, I should be deeply grieved. Attached by principle and by feeling to the Catholic Religion, it is in her bosom and in her instructions that I find the obligation of loving all men, of doing good to them, whatever may be their country, their colour, their religion. My religion makes it a duty, my heart makes it a pleasure. And though widely differing from Sturges [127]  upon a multitude of points, I agree with him that the want of charity is equivalent to a great heresy’.


[1] Henri Gregoire (1750-1831), Bishop of Blois in the secessionist French Catholic Church during the French Revolution, in which he played a leading role in the National Convention. Gregoire resisted both Robespierre’s attempts to abolish the church, and, with less success, Napoleon’s efforts to reconcile it with Papal rule. He resigned his see when that reconciliation occurred. BACK

[2] Gregoire’s remarks upon the Irish appeared in his 1808 De la litterature des negres, originally translated by D. B. Warden in 1810 as An Enquiry Concerning the Intellectual and Moral Faculties and Literature of Negroes. BACK

[3] Madeleine de Scudery, Clelia, An Excellent New Romance: The Whole Work in Five Parts (London, 1678). BACK

[4] We have seen them in convents, upon a large scale, applied to monastic history. The hint was perhaps taken from a passage in the works of St. Antoninus of Florence: —Quemadmodum arbor una est in radice et trunco, multiplex autem in ramis et fructibus, qui tamen humorem et vigorem habent a radice et trunco, ita status monachalis in Occidente unus est, ab uno Patre derivans, a radice Regulӕ Benedicti habens vigorem. [Southey’s note, referring to Saint Antoninus (Antonio Pierozzi, also called De Forciglioni) (1389-1459), Archbishop of Florence. Antoninus wrote Summa theologica (Venice, 1477; Verona, 1740) and the Summa confessionalis, Curam illius habes (Mondovi, 1472). The Latin translates as: Just as a tree is one in root and trunk but many in its branches and fruit (which nevertheless have their sap and strength from root and trunk), so a monk’s status in the West is one, deriving from the one Father, having its strength from its root, the rule of St Benedict.] BACK

[5] Saint Epiphanius (ca. 310-403), Bishop of Salamis, compiled a huge compendium of heresies. BACK

[6] Three architects of the Church of England: Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Archbishop of Canterbury, author of the Book of Common Prayer; Matthew Parker (1504-1575), Archbishop of Canterbury, author of the Thirty-Nine Articles; William Laud (1573-1645), Archbishop of Canterbury, opponent of Puritan dissenters. BACK

[7] This dispute arose in 1800 when Hannah More (1745-1833), evangelical Anglican, began, at Blagdon near Bristol, a Monday night meeting in association with the Sunday School for children that she ran there. The meeting, which featured praying and testifying, was accused by the local curate of being a hotbed of Methodist sectarianism. Letters to the press and a pamphlet war ensued over the next four years and More was pushed into closing the school. BACK

[8] Sir Richard Hill (1733-1808), 2nd Baronet of Hawkstone: a Calvinist Methodist within the Anglican Church, a landscape gardener, a Tory M.P., but not a poet. BACK

[9] William Wilberforce (1759–1833), evangelical Christian, M.P., campaigner against slavery and for moral reform. Wilberforce defended the Church of England rather than Calvinistic Methodism, and was encouraged by John Wesley. BACK

[10] Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704), French Catholic theologian and author of the critical disquisition upon Protestant sectarianism, Histoire des variations des Églises protestantes (1688). BACK

[11] See Robert Robinson, Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. John Claude in Miscellaneous Works of Robert Robinson, 4 vols (Harlow, 1807), I, p. 194. BACK

[12] A risqué misprint—or mistranslation: ‘To heal a windy colic, take a healthy woman and try her out [tâtez for tetez, ‘suck’] daily. A remedy proved by my father’. Wesley wrote, of consumption, ‘In the last stage, suck a healthy woman daily. This cured my father’. Wesley, Primitive Physic (London, 1785), p. 45. BACK

[13] Baxter’s milk cure is discussed in Reliquiae Baxterianae, or, Mr. Richard Baxters narrative of the most memorable passages of his life and times faithfully publish’d from his own original manuscript by Matthew Sylvester (London, 1696). BACK

[14] At the end of his life the Spanish general Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, 3rd Duke of Alba (1507-82), notorious for the cruelty with which he persecuted Protestants in the Netherlands, was brought so low by a lingering fever that he was kept alive only by drinking milk from a woman’s breast. BACK

[16] In 1775 John Wesley’s wife, long angry with her husband, read aloud to some of his friends and enemies private letters addressed to him by a young woman. She also sent texts of the letters to the Morning Post, intending to demonstrate that he abused his position as spiritual leader, entering romantic and sexual liaisons with female followers. Most people were satisfied that the more incendiary passages had been interpolated by Wesley’s wife and were of her own making. Southey was shown one of the letters in 1821, after he had published his Life of Wesley (1820), but, suspecting it to be a forgery, did not insert it in a second edition of the biography. BACK

[17] The works at Coalbrookdale on the river Severn were the iron foundries and forges in which new smelting methods were developed, enriching the Quaker ironmaster family headed by four successive Abraham Darbys (Abraham IV (1804-78) was head of the family in Southey’s time) and making the area a cradle for industrial production. The French translates as: ‘where good morals, work and affluence have taken up residence’. In fact, the Darbys provided for their workers’ well-being rather better than most of the mill-owners of the time. BACK

[18] ‘No Quakeress goes about in the latest fashions’. BACK

[19] Bernard Barton (1784–1849), the ‘Quaker poet’, Southey’s correspondent and friend, published Poems in 1820. BACK

[20] These two poems were published in Barton, Poems (1820). BACK

[21] From Napoleon and other Poems (London, 1822). BACK

[22] Sir John Sinclair, Statistical Account of Scotland, 21 vols (Edinburgh, 1791-99). BACK

[23] David Bogue and James Bennett, The History of Dissenters: from the Revolution in 1608, to the Year 1808, 4 vols (London, 1808), IV, p. 66. BACK

[25] Jemima Wilkinson (1752-1819), a Quaker by upbringing who, after an illness, declared a prophetic mission to be the ‘Public Universal Friend’ to all. Preaching the Ten Commandments and sexual abstinence, she practised hospitality and benevolence and attracted a community of followers in upper New York state. BACK

[26] The Dancing or Shaking Quakers, or Shakers—the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing—were a charismatic Protestant sect brought from England to New York in 1774 by prophet ‘Mother’ Ann Lee (1736-84). Worship took the form of long, sometime all-night, meetings at which the spirit would move worshippers to shake or dance. BACK

[27] From the journal of popular open air Methodist preacher Lorenzo Dow (1777-1834), History of a Cosmopolite; or the Four Volumes of the Rev. Lorenzo Dow’s Journal, concentrated in One, containing his Experience and Travels from Childhood to 1814 (1814). BACK

[28] Southey quotes John Fanning Watson, Methodist Errors, or Friendly Christian Advice to those Methodists who Indulge in Extravagant Emotions and Bodily Exercise (1814), 2nd edn (Trenton NJ, 1819). BACK

[29] Southey quotes from an ‘Extract of a Letter from the Rev. G. Baxter, Principal of Washington Academy to the Rev. Dr. Arch. Alexander, Prince Edward dated Jan. 1, 1802’, Evangelical Magazine, 10 (1802), 372-75 (p. 375). BACK

[30] Ovid, Fasti, Book III, March 15 Ides:

The people come and drink there, scattered on the grass,
And every man reclines there with his girl.
Some tolerate the open sky, a few pitch tents,
And some make leafy huts out of branches,
While others set reeds up, to form rigid pillars,
And hang their outspread robes from the reeds.
(translation A. S. Kline © 2004) BACK

[31] ‘Extract of a Letter from Colonel Robert Patterson, of Lexington, (Ken.) to the Rev. Doctor John King’, September 25, 1801, in Surprising Accounts of the Revival of Religion in the United States of America, in Different Parts of The World, and Among Different Denominations of Christians, with a Number of Interesting Occurrences of Divine Providence (1802). BACK

[33] From Conclusion of a Letter from the Rev. G. Baxter, Principal of Washington. Academy, continued from our last, p. 375, reporting the Cane Ridge Camp Meeting in the words of James B. Finley, Evangelical Magazine, 10 (1802), 415-17 (p. 416). BACK

[34] This community lived on the island of Värmdön and took its name from the farm it established there. It came to end in 1830. BACK

[35] A libertarian Protestant movement inspired by the work of the pastor of the village of St Philipsland, Pontiaan van Hattem (1645-1706). It held that Christ’s atonement had freed humans from the necessity to win salvation by obedience to natural law. The movement was banned by the States of Holland in 1732. BACK

[36] Jacobus Verschoor (1648-1700), pastor of Vlissingen, led a movement of ‘Hebrews’, so-called from their determination to read the Bible in the original. Like the Hattemites, the Hebrews rejected obedience to religious law. Banned in the 1690s, the movement did not survive Verschoor’s death. BACK

[37] The followers of the brothers John, Adrian, and Gysbert Vander Kodde in the 1620s. They met in the town of Rhinsburg and termed their assemblies Colleges. BACK

[38] The Society did not long outlast its chief organiser, J. H. Onderdewijngaart Canzius, who retired in 1838. BACK

[40] The community at Broekland, North Holland, was described by James Forbes as uniting the tenets of Calvinists, Quakers and Moravians in his Letters from France Written in the Years 1803 and 1804 (1806), reviewed by Southey in the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807), 6-71. Southey borrows from his earlier review here, relating the same anecdote about the new pastor. BACK

[41] A detailed history of the mostly Amish Mennonites in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Alsace can be found at the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. BACK

[42] In 1702, responding to the billeting of soldiers in their houses in an effort to force them to convert to Catholicism or flee, some of the French Protestants of villages in the Cevennes region took to arms, fighting both the army and their persecuting Catholic neighbours. Led by ‘prophets’, they continued fighting over the next eight years, a final peace occurring only after the death of King Louis XIV in 1715. BACK

[43] A millenarian group of ex-Camisards led by Durand Fage, Elie Marion and Jean Cavalier fled to London in 1706, attracting English millenarians and becoming known as the ‘French Prophets’. According to the Methodist Jonathan Edwards, their meetings featured violent agitations, speaking in tongues, writhings on the ground and self-mutilation. BACK

[44] The followers of Johann Georg Gichtel (1638-1710), a visionary who lived in poverty in Amsterdam, having fled Germany after banishment by the Lutheran establishment. Gichtel was a disciple of the mystic Jakob Böhme (1575-1624). BACK

[45] (1690-1750). BACK

[47] The Abrahamites professed to be followers of John Huss (1369-1415), their Bohemian predecessor as a critic of the church; their exile led to the martyrdom of some and the conversion of others to Catholicism. BACK

[48] Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752), Lutheran theologian and Biblical scholar, predicted the end of the world on the basis of his scriptural exegeses. BACK

[49] A movement known as Harmonists, Harmonites, Rappites, or the Harmony Society and led by the self-proclaimed prophet Johann Georg Rapp (1757-1847). Rapp, a peasant, began preaching millenarian doctrines in the 1780s and attracted over 12000 followers in the Duchy of Württemberg by 1802. Having separated from the Lutheran church, Rapp was questioned by the authorities in 1802 and when released in the following year emigrated with many of his followers to the US. BACK

[50] An English antinomian sect, of which Laurence Clarkson is one of the few known adherents, of the mid seventeenth century. Rejecting obedience to churches and the authority of scripture, the Ranters believed in the godlike nature of every creature and practised nudity. BACK

[51] Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704), French Catholic theologian and author of the critical disquisition upon Protestant sectarianism, Histoire des variations des Églises protestantes (1688). BACK

[52] The Latin, a common saying, translates as 'O Good Lord, in what times have you placed us'; the Greek translates as 'accept one ridiculous proposition and the rest follows' and comes from Aristotle, Physics, Book I, chapter 2, paragraph 5. BACK

[53] Sir Edward Dering, 1st Baronet (1598–1644), antiquary and M.P., a Protestant who opposed Presbyterianism during the English Revolution. Publication of his speech against factionalism in his A Collection of Speeches made by Sir Edward Dering ... in matter of Religion. Some formerly printed, and divers more now added: all of them revised, for the vindication of his name from weake and wilfull calumnie (1642) led Parliament to order its burning and his imprisonment in the Tower. BACK

[54] ‘In memory of the Popish conspiracy, which they know to be fantastical’. BACK

[55] Southey points out that Grégoire conflates two events. The Popish plot to assassinate Charles II was indeed fictitious, a child of the alarmist fears of Catholicism fomented by Titus Oates between 1678-81. Oates was convicted of perjury, but not before alleged conspirators had been executed. The Gunpowder Plot to blow up the King in Parliament in 1605, commemorated on 5 November, while infiltrated by agents of the Crown, was a genuine conspiracy by English Catholics. BACK

[56] ‘One is forced to ask whether this discourse was read in a madhouse of which its author was one of the inmates. Is it bad faith? It’s certainly quite appalling. Is it stupidity? It seems to be too gross. He wants to believe however that there are among us men possessing rectitude and talent. Thank Teacher for the kindness he shows us, and treat with suspicion the author and his crassnesses. BACK

[57] The Sale Catalogue of Southey’s library records that he owned The Life of the Glorious Bishop St.Patricke, Apostle and Primate of Ireland, together with the Lives of the Holy Virgin S. Bridget and of the Glorious Abbot St. Columbe, Patrons of Ireland, by F.B-B., one of the Irish Franciscan Friars of Lovain (St. Omers, 1625), a very fine clean copy in the original binding. BACK

[58] ‘What a wonderful miracle, unknown since the beginning of the world, now discovered to clans, peoples and tongues, well known to almost all nations, and more particularly, an absolute necessity for the inhabitants of Ireland!’ BACK

[59] ‘Since in creating such prodigies God is really adapting himself more or less to mankind’s simpler believers, that is why the Lives of the Saints are full of stuff that is simply marvellous to those Irish, Scots and Britons [= Welsh] who inhabit Albion [= Britain] and equally to the Britons [= Bretons] of Brittany, and is stitched together out of miracles that are virtually incredible: those are people once characterised by a remarkable steadiness of belief, a simplicity of life and a peculiar innocence; or at any rate, their writers were rather simple folk’. Southey quotes from the Preface to the massive collection of lives of the saints compiled by Johannes Bolland et al, Acta Sanctorum quotquot toto orbe coluntur vel a Catholicis scriptoribus celebrantur, quae ab antiquis monumentis latinis aliarumque gentium collegit digessit notis illustravit J. Bollandus, servata primigenia scriptorum phrasi. Operam et studium contulit G. Henschenius, 58 vols (Antwerp, 1643-1867). BACK

[61] These three allegories by John Bunyan (1628-88) were published in 1678-84, 1680, and 1682 respectively. BACK

[62] Fernando Martins de Bulhões (1195-1231), Franciscan preacher. BACK

[63] ‘Is it bad faith? It certainly seems appalling enough to be’. BACK

[64] Luke Wadding, Annales Minorum, seu Trium Ordinum A. S. Francisco Institutorum, ab anno 1208 ad 1540, 8 vols (1625-54). BACK

[66] Southey included a version of this tale, in which the devil takes the form of a flea, in The Doctor, 7 vols (London, 1834-47), III, p. 120. BACK

[67] ‘It’s certainly possible for the new reformers to change, but not to admit that they change’. The remark appears in Bossuet, Histoire des variations des Églises protestantes (1688), Book VIII, the years 1546-61. BACK

[70] The belief, first promulgated by Arius of Alexandria (c. 250–336), that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by—and is therefore distinct from and inferior to—God the Father. BACK

[72] Thomas Fuller (1608-51) makes this remark in his ‘Life of John Huss’, in Abel Redevivus, or the Dead yet Speaking. The Lives and Deaths of the Modern Divines (1651). BACK

[73] Catholic societies which practised the worship of Jesus’s sacred heart. BACK

[75] Calamy says that this person took ‘a brief account of the transactions in the Assembly of Divines in fourteen or fifteen volumes, 8vo, which are yet preserved’. Is this Collection still in existence? [Southey’s note]. No such collection had been found by Southey’s death. BACK

[76] Goodwin published this tract in 1645, arguing that ‘Christs heart now in heaven, is as graciously affected unto sinners, as ever it was on earth’. BACK

[77] ‘So reasons the English writer, and neither there nor elsewhere do I see anything to authorise his identification as the father of the Cordicoles. If the institution concerned did not appear vicious in the eyes of men of sense, its nature will not be altered by being the work of a Protestant. What does the source matter, as long as the water is pure’. BACK

[78] Claude La Colombière (1641-82), a Jesuit priest assigned in 1676 to the private chapel of the Duchess of York in St James Palace. BACK

[80] Johannes Jetzer (c. 1483-after 1520), an uneducated lay brother in the monastery at Bern who in 1507 saw visions of St Barbara and of Mary. A picture of the latter was seen to weep blood, and the monastery profited by selling handkerchiefs moistened with it. On investigation Jetzer revealed that the visions were false, and blamed the affair on the four head-masters of the monastery. In 1509 they were executed. BACK

[83] ‘The acceptance of the word victim, which reappears frequently in this order, is nothing but laudable, but what is there that people do not abuse?’ BACK

[84] Jacqueline Aimée Brohon (1731-78), published two romances, Les amans philosophes ou le triomphe de la raison and Les tablettes enchantées, as a young woman, but retreated into a priory for the last fourteen years of her life. In 1799 her Manuel des Victimes de Jesus was published. BACK

[85] The Journal Prophétique of Suzette Labrousse (1747-1821), containing prophecies and criticisms of the nobility and the clergy, and edited by Pierre Pontard, was published in 1792/3. BACK

[86] ‘Possessing virtues and talents, they attest to the fact that error may find access to even the most organised heads, and that good sense may border on unreason’. BACK

[87] The Convulsionnaires were a sect of the 1730s inspired by the self-flagellating Jansenist mystic François de Pâris (1690-1727), at whose tomb in the churchyard of Saint-Médard they gathered. Thousands of prophetic publications emanated from them, many of them anti-clerical, anti-monarchical and millenarian, also predicting the conversion of the Jews to Christianity. BACK

[88] A movement within the Catholic Church between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, named after the Dutch theologian Cornelius Otto Jansen (1585-1638). Jansenism flourished in the Parisian convent of Port-Royal, among writers including Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine. Accused by its Jesuit opponents of being Calvinistic, Jansenism stressed original sin, the necessity of divine grace, and predestination. It was condemned as a heresy by Pope Innocent X in 1655. BACK

[89] An abscess of the tear ducts, leading to constant weeping and to the excretion of pus. BACK

[90] Blaise Pascal (1623-62), the mathematician and Jansenist philosopher whose ten-year-old niece, Marguerite Périer, was the person whose fistula was miraculously cured, in 1657. BACK

[91] Pascal published these in 1656 and 1657, condemning many of the theological arguments and practices of the Church, especially those used by the Jesuits. BACK

[93] That is, François de Pâris. See note 87 above. BACK

[94] By which the Pope condemned the Jansenist doctrines as heresy. BACK

[95] ‘By order of the King, God is forbidden to work miracles in this place’. BACK

[96] In Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique de Grimm et de Diderot (1829), 1er juin 1759: lettre de La Condamine à Grimm. BACK

[97] Charles Marie de La Condamine (1701-74). BACK

[98] From Charles Butler, ‘The Church of France’, vol. V, p. 142 of The Philological and Biographical Works of Charles Butler, 5 vols (London, 1817). BACK

[99] That is, the cure of Pascal’s niece’s fistula when it was touched by the sacred thorn. See notes 89 and 90 above. BACK

[100] Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck, A Tour to Alet and La Grande Chartreuse By Dom Claude Lancelot, Author of the Port Royal Grammars, 2 vols (London, 1816), II, p. 230. BACK

[101] Charles Rollin (1661-1741), historian. BACK

[102] Jean Charles, Chevalier Folard (1669-1752), soldier and military author. BACK

[103] Enlightenment philosophes Marc-Pierre de Voyer de Paulmy, Comte d’Argenson (1696-1764) and Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert (1717-83). BACK

[104] The history of the Avignon Society remains disputed by scholars: most now agree that it was established in 1786 by Don Antoine Joseph Pernety (1716-96) a former Benedictine monk influenced both by Freemasonry and by Swedenborg, whose writings he translated into French while working as the librarian to Frederick the Great in Berlin. Pernety was aided by Count Thaddeus Leszczy Grabianka (1740-1807), another Swedenborgian, whom he met in Berlin. Following a visit to English Swedenborgians, Grabianka joined Pernety in founding the Société des Illuminés d’Avignon, a group whose spiritual practices took elements from freemasonry, alchemy, mesmerism, Catholic mysticism and Swedenborgianism and which predicted a second coming and imminent millennium. The Society was dispersed in 1793-94 during the upheavals of the Revolution, when Pernety, Grabianka and others were arrested, although a few members still remained as late as 1804. See Clarke Garrett, Respectable Folly: Millenarians and the French Revolution in France and England (Baltimore and London, 1975), pp. 110-17. BACK

[105] Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743-1803), known as le philosophe inconnu, a mystic who travelled to Britain and to Italy, who translated the writings of Jakob Böhme into French and admired the works of Swedenborg. Despite regarding the French Revolution as the commencement of the last Judgement, St Martin lived a retired life, interesting himself in spiritualism and animal magnetism. BACK

[106] Abraham Hyacinth Anquetil-Duperron (1731-1805), published in 1801/2 a Latin translation of the Upanishads entitled Oupnek’hat. Portions of the Mahabharata were translated by Sir Charles Wilkins (1749-1836). BACK

[107] Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), the German mystic, shoemaker and author of Aurora (1612) whose writing was influential upon Blake and Coleridge. BACK

[108] St Martin, Of Errors and of Truth (1775), Preface. BACK

[109] Nicolas Antoine Boulanger (1722-59), the philosopher credited with authoring what was actually the work of Baron d’Holbach, Christianisme dévoilé (1761). BACK

[110] William Gilbert (1763-1825?), theosophist, poet and astrologer, author of The Hurricane (1796), and an acquaintance of Southey’s in Bristol in the 1790s. On Gilbert, see

[111] Count Thaddeus Leszczy Grabianka (1740-1807), a Swedenborgian who met Pernety in Berlin. Following a visit to English Swedenborgians in 1785-86, Grabianka joined Pernety in founding the Société des Illuminés d’Avignon in 1786. BACK

[112] Don Antoine Joseph Pernety (1716-96) a former Benedictine monk influenced both by Freemasonry and by Swedenborg, whose writings he translated into French while working as the librarian to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Berlin. In 1763-64 Pernety had been part of the scientific voyage into the South Atlantic commanded by Louis Antoine de Bougainville. On his return he published Journal historique d’un voyage fait aux îles Malouines en 1763 et 1764 pour les reconnoître et y former un établissement et de deux voyages au détroit de Magellan avec une relation sur les Patagons (1769). BACK

[113] Abbé Augustin Barruel (1741-1820), a French Jesuit who had fled France after the revolution and was living in Britain, was in 1797 the author of Mémoires pour server à l’Histoire du Jacobinisme, translated as Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism. In this highly popular conspiracy theory, he attributed the revolution to a series of societies holding mystical beliefs and observing secret rituals—the Illuminati—and dedicated to destroying the Catholic Church and the states that supported it. BACK

[114] These pamphlets, which, owing to the perishable form in which they appeared, and the class of persons among whom they circulated, are now exceedingly rare, are thus entitled, A revealed knowledge of some things that will speedily be fulfilled in the World, communicated to a number of Christians brought together at Avignon, by the Power of the Spirit of God, from all Nations. Now published by his Divine Command for the good of all Men. By John Wright, his servant, and one of the Brethren. 1794. A Testimony of the Spirit of Truth concerning Richard Brothers, the man appointed of God to govern the Hebrews; the Elijah promised by the Lord in these last days to come and restore all things; dignified with the title of his King, who will be exalted to the Throne of David in Mount Zion, in Jerusalem. In an Address to the People of Israel, &c. to the Gentiles called Christians, and all other Gentiles. With some Account of the manner of the Lord’s gracious dealing with his servant William Bryan, one of the Brothers of the Avignon Society; and by Revelation from God declared to be a Jew of the Tribe of Judah. 1795. [Southey’s note] BACK

[115] Tiemann von Berend, a Saxon who claimed to be a major in the Russian army, and a freemason known to Grabianka, who acted as a travelling companion to young noblemen. BACK

[116] See John Wright, A Revealed Knowledge of Some Things That Will Speedily be Fulfilled in the World (London, 1794), p. 19. Southey’s citations from Wright are all from this work. BACK

[117] P. Pani, Notificazione contra Ottavio Cappelli, Rome, 21 November 1791. BACK

[118] Treated as a visionary prophet by the Illuminés, Cappelli was at the Avignon Society for two years from 1787 but was arrested in 1790 after his return to Rome, whereupon the papal authorities used his letters to the Society as evidence of heresy. Freed in 1795, he was arrested again in 1798 and executed. See Garrett, Respectable Folly, pp. 105-6, 116-17. BACK

[119] Barruel, Mémoires pour servir a l’histoire du jacobinisme, 4 vols (London, 1798), IV, p. 479. ‘The most secret, the most monstrous of colleges and the most fearsome tribunal for monarchs,—that which reveals that their time is come, which names the executioners, and which provides the daggers or the poisons’. BACK

[120] Ann Moore (1761-1813) became notorious as the fasting-woman of Tutbury. From 1807 to 1813, she claimed to have eaten nothing at all, but this claim was exposed as false by a team of watchers who observed her night and day. BACK

[121] Elisabeth Christine, Princess of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel and Empress of Austria (1691-1750), spouse of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI of Austria. She was converted to Catholicism in 1707. BACK

[122] Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68), the German art historian and archaeologist; Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), the German poet, critic and scholar; Friedrich Leopold, Count zu Stolberg (1750-1819). All three men converted to Catholicism. BACK

[123] Erasmus’s caustic remark, after Luther’s marriage, on the reformation which rent the Catholic church—‘so the tragedy, like a comedy, has ended in a wedding’. BACK

[124] Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1753-1827), the German theologian and Biblical critic; Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus (1761-1851), the German theologian. BACK

[126] Stephen Gardiner (c. 1483/c. 1497-1555), an Anglican bishop involved in the mission to the Pope to obtain a divorce for Henry VIII, and subsequently, reconciled to Roman Catholicism, Lord Chancellor during the reign of Mary I. Edmund Bonner (c. 1500-69), Bishop of London, was instrumental in effecting the separation of the Anglican church from that of Rome. In the reign of Mary, reconciled to Roman Catholicism, he persecuted Protestants. BACK

[127] Dr. Sturges’ remark was quoted in A Modest Apology for the Roman Catholics of Great Britain: addressed to all moderate Protestants; particularly to the Members of both Houses of Parliament, reviewed by Southey in The Monthly Review, 33 (1800), 56. BACK

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Published @ RC

July 2012